MUMBAI: The opposition Congress and NCP today criticised the BJP-led Maharashtra government in the state Assembly for not providing relief to farmers whose crops were affected by the 'pink bollworm' during the kharif season.
However, the members of the treasury benches alleged that the opposition was "shedding crocodile tears" over farmers' issues.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Prithviraj Chavan (of the Congress) and Jayant Patil (NCP) sought a discussion on the issue.
They alleged that there were contradictions between the state's assurance during the winter session of the Legislature in December last year and a Government Resolution (GR) issued earlier this month over the compensation issue.
They said their adjournment notice on the issue should be taken up for discussion.
To this, Speaker Haribhau Bagde said a debate on the hailstorm and unseasonal rains affecting crops was listed on the agenda, but he was willing to suspend the Question Hour and take up an immediate discussion on the farmers' problems.
However, the opposition members said their issue was specific to the "contradictions" between the GR and the assurance given in the House last year, and not related to the debate initiated by the treasury benches.
Vikhe Patil said the opposition was ready for a debate, but the Congress and the NCP members continued to shout slogans against the government for its alleged apathy towards the farmers.
Jayant Patil said there should a debate on their adjournment notice -- of no compensation to farmers whose crops were affected by the pink bollworm (a crop pest) -- and not the one listed on the agenda by the treasury benches.
Amid the din, the speaker rejected their demand and adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
Later, when the House reassembled, the presiding officer again adjourned it for 15 minutes as the opposition members continued to shout slogans against the government.
When the House resumed later, a debate began on the farmers' crops suffering damages due to the unseasonal rains and the hailstorm earlier this month.
The government had in December last year given an assurance in the House that a compensation would be given to farmers whose crops were affected by the pink bollworm during the last kharif season.
Later on February 23, prior to the commencement of the budget session, the revenue department issued a GR saying the compensation would be given from the state disaster relief fund.
Chavan and Vikhe Patail said despite the assurance, the farmers whose crops were affected by the pink bollworm during the last kharif season were yet to get a compensation.
However, the members of the treasury benches said the opposition was shedding crocodile tears over farmers' issues.