Expressing distress over the falling prices of onions in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena on Friday asked why farmers cannot be given their due if the state government can implement the 7th Pay Commission.
The Sena, in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, pointed out that onion farmers in Aurangabad’s Vaijapur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) were getting as little as 20 paise per kilogram for their produce.
“These onions could become bombs and explode,” the Sena editorial warned.
It said the true picture of the condition of farmers cultivating onions, cotton and tomatoes was yet to come before the government, adding that the government would not have “thrown assurances” at them if it knew their plight.
The Sena said all that the farmers were demanding was money to cover the cost of production.
“But the government distances itself from the demands citing lack of funds and other technical problems. The government borrows Rs 5 billion from Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust in Shirdi for its pending projects. It also can spare two to five hundred crore for the bullet train project,” it said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said it was happy that the government had formally agreed to implement the 7th Pay Commission from January 1 and claimed it was the right of government employees.
“Similarly, onion farmers should also get their dues. Are they not citizens of Maharashtra? Are they not humans?” it asked.
The Sena said a large amount of onions lying in APMCs are perishing because of lack of takers and said they would finally have to be discarded.
The Maharashtra government Thursday approved the implementation of 7th Pay Commission recommendations from January 1, a move that will benefit more than 2 million employees and pensioners.
The cabinet approval to the pay hike of government employees, which will cost the state exchequer Rs 386.55 billion, comes just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The state will face Assembly polls in the second half of 2019.
The Sena is a constituent of the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre.