Turning the table on the Opposition over boycotting the customary tea with the Chief Minister at his official camp residence, Fadnavis said in the hour of crisis when the state was facing severe drought in 14 districts, the Government was expecting the Opposition to sit across the table over tea and discuss the issues seriously.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday asked the opposition parties not to politicise the drought situation in the state and said his government stood firmly behind the crisis. He dismissed criticism over inept handling of drought-like situation in the state.”Out rightly denying the charges that government was doing nothing to handle the drought like situation,” Fadnavis told reporters here on the eve of commencement of Winter Session of State Legislature from Monday.He said his government had already initiated measure to tackle the worst ever drought.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”About 800 tankers are plying with drinking water in the affected zone, work in the employment guarantee scheme was in full swing and the ‘Jalyukta Shivar’, a water conservation scheme launched earlier was helping the farmers to overcome the drought,” Fadnavis said. “As per normal practise the Central team visited in December to assess the drought situation but the state has already submitted a detailed report of situation well in time to the Centre and was expecting relief soon,” he added.Turning the table on the Opposition over boycotting the customary tea with the Chief Minister at his official camp residence, Fadnavis said in the hour of crisis when the state was facing severe drought in 14 districts, the Government was expecting the Opposition to sit across the table over tea and discuss the issues seriously.”But the Opposition preferred to boycott. It was time for all parties to come together and sympathise with the distressed farmers in overcoming the crisis and help the state to tackle the drought more effectively,” he added.Fadnavis denied allegations of Rs 4,000 crore pulses scam and said the Opposition should have explained the magic figure of Rs 4,000 crore. “How could they derive at this figure,” he quipped.Ridiculing the opposition, Fadnavis said the Government will expose them on the floor of the House and decode the scam figure. To a question on proposed Cabinet expansion, the Chief Minister said it will now be after the end of Assembly and Parliament session.The Winter session of both the Maharashtra Assembly and Parliament ends on December 23. Meanwhile, distancing himself from the controversy over referendum remarks by Maharashtra Advocate General Shihari Aney on separate Vidarbha, Fadnavis said he has not heard the comments made on Saturday but today heard Aney saying he will protect the interest of Maharashtra in his capacity as state AG.
The Sena leader is visiting farmers affected by crop loss due to drought, unseasonal rains and hailstorm in Parbhani, Jalna and Nanded districts.
“Shiv Sena will give Rs 10,000 to each affected farmer,” he said.
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said his party will stand firmly behind the farmers affected by drought in various parts of Maharashtra. “We will also take care of education of children of the drought-hit farmers,” Thackeray, who is on a visit of the drought-hit areas of Marathwada, said in Parbhani district of the region. The Sena leader is in Marathwada today to disburse financial assistance to the affected farmers. “Shiv Sena will give Rs 10,000 to each affected farmer,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sena leader is visiting farmers affected by crop loss due to drought, unseasonal rains and hailstorm in Parbhani, Jalna and Nanded districts. “He will also give essential items to each affected family. The effort is to help them mitigate their difficulties and overcome them. They should not contemplate suicide,” a party leader said. Thackeray visited some of the affected villages in October and distributed financial help, food grains and sweets for Diwali festival and also agriculture equipment to the affected farmers and the kin of suicide victims.During the present visit, Sena MLAs will also meet and interact with affected farmers, besides visiting the affected lands in these areas. They will also meet the revenue and agriculture officers including district collectors, zilla parishad chief executive officers, tehsildars and block development officers.The team will also examine the measures taken by the state/Central governments to tackle the drought condition, like deployment of water tankers, works under Employment Gurantee Scheme and others programmes along with the works under the Jalyukata Shivar Scheme.
Stating that the state government has already announced packages for the drought-hit farmers, Patnaik said the people in villages should be made aware about the announcement that the crop loans would not be collected for three years.
dna Research & Archives
Accusing opposition political parties of trying to extract mileage from the drought situation in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday asked the leaders of the ruling BJD to stand by the farmers.”It is our moral responsibility to stand by the farmers who have been facing trouble due to the drought situation caused by the deficient rainfall in the state,” Patnaik said in a letter to the ruling BJD’s MLAs, MPs and district presidents.Stating that the state government has already announced packages for the drought-hit farmers, Patnaik said the people in villages should be made aware about the announcement that the crop loans would not be collected for three years. This apart, those farmers having not paid the previous crop loan would be provided with fresh loan for the rabi crop, Patnaik stated in the letter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patnaik, who is also the ruling BJD president, said that though the government has announced the drought packages in media, the party workers and leaders need to publicise them in their level. “We had stood solidly behind the farmers during droughts in 2010 and 2011,” Patnaik said.Denouncing the opposition campaign against the state government, Patnaik said: “Instead of helping the farmers the opposition parties are instigating them to agitate against the government. This is the time to face the challenge and save the existing crop.””The opposition parties are giving colour to farmers death cases. They attribute all deaths of farmers as suicide due to crop failure and debt burden. We should desist from politics,” Patnaik said in the letter.Stating that his government believes in work and not in words, Patnaik asked his party leaders to come together and fight against the calamity as they have done successfully in the past.
Mumbai: In its efforts to raise more funds for tackling drought in the state, Maharashtra government has decided to levy a surcharge of Rs 2 on petrol and diesel while VAT on liquor, cigarettes and beverages have also been raised by 5 percent.
The surcharge on Value Added Tax (VAT) for gold and diamond jewellery will be 1.20 percent.
The measures, which will come into effect from midnight will be in force for five months, state’s Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said here. The measures would be reviewed in the next budget session, he added.
Representational image. Image courtesy: Reuters
Talking to the reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Mungantiwar said the exchequer will get an additional revenue of Rs 1,600 crore.
“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked all departments to make a list of how to generate more revenue and cut down on expenditure. We will have a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the same next month,” Mungantiwar said. He said due to reduction in prices of petrol and diesel, there has been a revenue deficit of Rs 300 crore per month.
“The government has also decided to waive off LBT on petrol and diesel. This will result in total loss of Rs 1,800 crore to the state treasury,” he said. The minister said since the government was giving so much concession for the common man, it is seeking additional Rs 2 on petrol and diesel to provide relief to the farmers.
He also said since 1 August, Local Body Tax (LBT) has been waived off for businesses with turnover of less than Rs 50 crore. Similarly, the LBT has been waived off for alcohol, beverages and cigarette as well.
Mungantiwar said fiscal burden was about Rs 7,500 crore due to various steps being taken by the government to mitigate hardships of the farmers reeling under unseasonal rains, drought, crop loss and water scarcity.
36-year-old farmer Meena Chhadidas narrates how her life changed for bad due to the prolonged drought in Jalna district
Losing her husband to a prolonged illness has forced 36-year-old farmer Meena Chhadidas — resident of Karjat in Jalna district — to live a beggar’s life. Her situation turned from bad to worse due to the drought that has been affecting the farmers in Maharashtra for the past four years. Meena’s 1.5 acre land has not yielded any crop in the last three years. Due to this her financial condition has been affected badly and making ends meet is a daily struggle for her. “Ever year, ahead of monsoon, we spend money to buy seeds and fertilisers but it’s been useless. In fact, this sowing exercise has increased our loan amount,” said Meena, who lives in a broken house with her four children.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Her hardships began following her husband Dadasahed’s death. “When my husband was alive, I used to live a carefree life. He used to manage everything and whenever we needed money, he used to get it from our friends and relatives. But after his death things have become pretty bad,” said Meena. She added: “We spent around Rs 75,000 on his medication. Despite spending the huge amount, there was no improvement in his health. His health started deteriorating and he succumbed to the frail health in the hospital. He was quite concerned about the loan and education of our kids. He had studied only till Class 9, but he wanted our kids to study as only education can change our poverty-ridden life.”Meena cannot write or read, but can sign in Marathi. “My malak (husband) taught me how to sign. I do miss his presence. His presence was enough to give us the moral support to battle any sort of crisis. Today, I feel lonely and the drought has depressed us both financially and mentally. Our condition today is just like beggars,” Meena said. Being the sole breadwinner of her family, Meena said running the house on one person’s wage is difficult. Wednesday was a lucky day for her as she got to work at farm and earned Rs100. “Whenever I get money, I buy rice, wheat, oil and salt to feed my kids. They, too, make rounds in the village asking big farmer’s to give them some work so that they can get food in the evening. At times, when I don’t get any work, we are forced to sleep empty stomach.”Looking at their plight, their neighbours at times offer them food. “The drought has robbed us of everything. I do not remember when was the last time I bought a saree for myself. I have been using only one saree. I wash it in the night and use it the next day. My kids have been wearing clothes discarded by others,” she said. With a loan of Rs 1.5lakh on their head, recovery agents and private money lenders are regular visitors at her house. “Few days ago, we were engaged in the NAREGA scheme. The work was mainly construction of check dams and roads. I was happy to work but nepotism changed everything. People who are closed to the supervisors got to work daily. We have to fight and beg for the work. However, due to the recent spell of rain, the local authority suspended the work. The current rain is of no use and has snatched our work,” said Meena.
Social activist Anna Hazare has opposed to waive off loans of farmers as they were a waste of taxpayers money.
Social activist Anna Hazare has opposed the loan waiver given to farmers, saying that they were a waste of taxpayers money.Hazare’s opposition comes amid demand from political parties like Shiv Sena, NCP to waive off debt of poor farmers. Speaking to a leading daily, Hazare said that this is just a political gimmick and loan waiver has never helped farmers in the past. He said, “Such waivers make the farmers dependent and helpless. The government should not consider the demands for loan waivers (made by the opposition).” <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Maharashtra: Family’s elders give up food so children can surviveBlaming politicians for drought situation, Hazare also alleged that political leaders are not interested in welfare of farmers and the government should bring a law where banks will be able to provide interest-free agriculture loans.Hazare has also warned that water is going to be a major issue in the future and severe drought could lead to inter-state fights over water.Also read: Neighbours have stopped talking to me fearing I might ask for food, says poverty-striken Marathwada farmerMeanwhile, a proposal has been mooted by the Maharashtra government to declare an area as drought-hit if it receives less than 50% of average rainfall between June and July as against the earlier criterion of less than 75% precipitation in the said months.A state Cabinet sub-committee has drafted new field crop yield assessment norms and changed the parameters as per which Maharashtra government may declare an area as drought- affected.Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said the report of the sub-committee has been placed before the state Cabinet, which will consider it at its next meeting.The report seeks to amend the Drought Manual 2009, whereby the terminology of “drought-like situation” will be replaced with a clearly defined term, “drought”, he said.Also read: After wife’s death, farmer waits for starvation to claim him