MUMBAI: A debt-ridden BJP-led Maharashtra government is unwilling to announce any special financial package for farmers in drought prone areas despite its own ally Shiv Sena as well as opposition Congress and NCP taking an aggressive stand on the issue in the ongoing session of the state legislature.
State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said his government has already proposed more than Rs 7,000 crore for farmers and there is no need of an additional package. The first week of the winter session had been completely washed out in the ruckus created by the Opposition over a package for farmers. The Opposition expects a package of at least Rs 10,000 crore but Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is firm on long term measures instead of a short term package for farmers.
Mungantiwar too said that the government has already proposed in the budget a huge amount for farmers through supplementary demands. "We have proposed Rs 4,200 crore to tackle drought, Rs 944.92 crore as state's share to give relief to farmers affected by natural calamities, Rs 227 crore to continue the Food Security mission, Rs 93 crore for a comprehensive crop insurance scheme through supplementary demands," he said.
He added that these measures have already been taken for farmers and hence there is no need of announcing a separate package for them. Rubbishing the Opposition's charge that BJP government is not serious about farmers, Mungantiwar said, "These are sufficient provisions and the results will prove how serious we are about farmers." Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Opposition leader in the State Assembly said, "More than 3,000 farmers have committed suicide during the BJP regime and still the chief minister and finance minister are not announcing a package. This is shameful."
Dhananjay Munde, Opposition leader in the State Legislative Council too echoed Patil's views. Another Congress leader Sanjay Dutt claimed that Fadnavis was trapped between senior ministers of his own party while on the other hand, leaders from his ally Shiv Sena were also criticising him over various issues including drought and farmers suicide.
Dutt claimed that Mungantiwar and Agriculture and Relief and Rehabilitation minister Eknath Khadse are targeting those not supporting Fadnavis. However, Mungantiwar denied the allegations. "Being the CM, Fadnavis has supreme powers and using his powers, he can consider announcing a package. My duty is to make provisions of the amount that is announced by him," Mungantiwar said.