Will the Chief Minister’s relief fund be effectively used to provide relief to the drought hit farmers?
As per the RTI application filed by activist Anil Galgali it has been revealed that the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has grown by Rs 253 crore in the last one year and its current balance stood at over Rs 188 crore. Farmers’ suicide have been reported in the drought hit areas of Maharashtra due to poor monsoon and crop failure. Will the Chief Minister’s relief fund be effectively used to provide relief to the drought hit farmers? Can we expect that henceforth there will be a drastic reduction in the number of farmers committing suicide? Will the state government provide loan waiver to farmers and resolve the issues faced by them? Since several villages in the state have been reeling under drought citizens, NGOs and actors had come forward to donate money to debt ridden farmers.
The onus now lies on the state government to effectively disburse the money to farmers.
RTI activist Anil Galgali said, “If 253 crore is distributed among 25,300 farmers with each one of them receiving Rs 1 lakh then we can avert farmer suicides. It depends upon the CM to give priority to offer financial assistance to farmers who are worst affected by drought. Due to bureaucratic hurdles the farmers are yet to receive the aid from government. The government is least bothered about the problems faced by farmers.”
When AV spoke to Avadhut Wagh, BJP spokesperson he said, “This is one of the ways to help farmers. The government of Maharashtra is not leaving a single stone unturned to reach out to farmers to help them.”
“No, such kind of step won’t solve the farmer’s issue permanently as only 40 per cent of funds will reach them. The state should come out with a long term solution to address this issue. Steps must be taken to bring more area under irrigation to resolve the water scarcity problem” said Nitesh Rajhans Singh, youth leader and son of ex-MLA and former opposition leader in BMC Rajhans Singh.
“I think this initiative won’t solve the problem faced by farmers. We need the Chief Minister, Prime Minister and Indian government to remain committed towards the plight of our farmers. Unfortunately our farmers are neglected and left to die by the government. Pre-election promises remain unfulfilled as farmer suicides have not stopped,” said Ramesh Solanki, member of Shiv Sena IT cell.
“BJP government can spend more than 1000 crores on their election campaign and at the same time only allocate a minimal amount for farmers who are the backbone of our country,” said Parmeshwar Upadhyay, ex-nation delegate NSUI, youth congress leader.
Data with the agriculture department shows that in 2015, two-thirds of the 1.37crore farmers in the state of Maharashtra have been affected by the drought mainly in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. That is nearly 90 lakh farmers in Maharashtra alone.
According to the state’s revenue department figures, the farmer suicide count in the six-month span from January to June this year stood at 1,300 cases.