Maharashtra govt not taking concrete steps to help rain-hit farmers: Sharad Pawar

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has failed to help farmers who have incurred losses due to heavy rainfall recently.

Parts of Marathwada along with western Maharashtra including Pune witnessed heavy rainfall in October.

Pawar while interacting with farmers from Purandar tehsil, which is part of the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency represented by his daughter Supriya Sule, said the state government has failed to take concrete measures to help cultivators who have incurred heavy losses due to rains.

During the interaction, the NCP leader empathised with farmers and told them he understands their pain and problems and assured them to make efforts to get relief.

“Farmers have incurred losses because of heavy rains. The government should take some concrete steps to steer them out of the situation. However, the present government is not ready to take concrete measures. The Centre has also been apprised of the situation on the ground, but no concrete decision has been taken,” Pawar said.

He further said the state government recently announced a complete waiver for farmers who have taken loans from Bhuvikas Bank, but sought to know how many agriculturists have availed of credit from the lender.

The state government has announced a loan waiver of 964 crore from Bhuvikas Bank among other measures taken for the development of the agriculture sector.

“Two to three days ago, the state government announced a complete waiver for farmers who have taken loans from Bhuvikas Bank. Tell me in the last 10 years, has anyone here (referring to farmers present during the interaction) taken a loan from Bhuvikas Bank? Do you even know whether Bhuvikas Bank exists?” Pawar said.

“The bank used to be there, but its loans had defaulted for the last 25 to 30 years. Nobody goes for recovery of loans. So, after realising that loans cannot be recovered, they have waived them,” he said.