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We have to pay for your sins

Khadse holds opposition for rising farmers’ suicide in the state, announces compensation of one lakh rupees for families of farm suicide victims without inquiry.

Eknath Khadse-AV

Maharashtra agriculture minister Eknath Khadse blamed the opposition for rising farmers’ suicide in the state and said that the incumbent government has to bear the brunt of the sins committed by its predecessor. Khadse informed the Legislative Assembly that farmers are facing huge hardships today due to the erratic policies of the Democratic Front government. When Khadse made these statements opposition tried to disrupt the house by raising slogans. The minister also said that over 20,000 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra in the last 15 years, but only 8,066 suicides were due to crop failure, loan and recovery pressure.

Khadse said that the government will offer a compensation of Rs one lakh to the family of farmer who has committed suicide without con-ducting any inquiry and demanding any documents from them to support their claim. At present the victim’s family has to face huge hardships as they have to submit several proofs like death certificate, post mortem report and other documents for receiving compensation which is a tedious process. There are several families in the state who are yet to get compensation after farmers commit suicide due to crop failure and rising debts. Khadse said that initiative has been taken by the state government to provide water to drought hit regions through tankers. He added that more powers have been given to tahsildars and district collectors for speeding up the drought relief work.

Khadse said, “The opposition is responsible for indulging in scams as money meant for providing relief to farmers never reached them. Now you are targeting the government when farmers are ending their lives. What did your government do in last 10 years for the welfare of farmers?”

As the House assembled for the Question Hour, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde questioned as to how many of the 3,228 farmers who as per the government data committed suicide in 2015, have been provided with monetary aid.

He also questioned that if 3,228 farmers have committed suicide, did the government present a false affidavit in the Bombay High Court, where it had said that around 1,000 farmers committed suicide?

In response, Khadse said there are certain norms for providing aid to families of farmers who have committed suicide.

“We are only following norms set by the previous government that entail distribution of financial aid to families. If a farmer has committed suicide due to crop failure or if he is unable to repay loans, he is entitled for help,” he said.

Khadse further said at present, out of 3,228, about 1841 families have been given financial assistance.

“The rest did not fit into the criteria. We have asked officials to get more information on the cause of suicides,” he said.

Khadse also informed that the Maharashtra government will begin implementation of the Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana ( PMFBY) from April.

“Damages to crops in post harvesting, cutting and harvesting, storm, unseasonal rains, flooding of fields, landslides and hailstorms have been included in the norms for granting compensation under the scheme,” he said.

On the other hand, Leader of the opposition in the state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said that Eknath Khadse has given mis-leading statements about farmers’ suicide in the assembly. He said, “Khadse had mentioned that year 2012 had witnessed highest number of farmer suicides in state which is not true. In 2015, 3228 farmers had committed suicide which is highest whereas only 1473 farmers had ended their lives in 2012. The government only makes announcements and fails to implement the policies therefore farmers are committing suicide. They should offer loan waiver to farmers.”

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