MUMBAI: Nearly a month-and-a-half on since undergoing surgery for hip fracture, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday reappeared in public, albeit with a walking stick. And the periodic absence seemed to have recharged the mighty Maratha’s legendary high-strung nature.
In a chat with journalists, Pawar targeted Devendra Fadnavis Government in Maharashtra as well as Narendra Modi-led BJP-NDA dispensation at the Centre.
According to the NCP chief, the Centre’s policies will cost the sugarcane growers dear.
“When we were in the power, we used to give export subsidy of Rs.3,300 per tonne of sugarcane. The farmers earned Rs.5,000 crore because of the subsidy. The Union Government has stopped the scheme and the farmers will have to suffer because of that. The Union Government should announce Rs.600-Rs.700 export subsidy on sugarcane, with immediate effect,” Pawar, a former Union Agriculture Minister, said.
He predicted that the country’s foodgrain and horticulture export would be less this year, because of the Centre’s lethargy.
“We had exported foodgrain and horticulture worth `2,32,000 crore last year. This year, the government is not serious about horticulture. Its easy going attitude will result in lower volumes of export,” he said.
Pawar expressed regret that the Union Government did not consult the Opposition before bringing in the Land Acquisition Ordinance.
“Our government had set up two Committees on the issue of land acquisition. One was headed by the then BJP MP Sumitra Mahajan (currently LS Speaker) and another by me.
“My Committee was of the view that the government should not acquire farm lands under irrigation. If such farm lands were to be acquired, there should be consent from at least 80 per cent farmers. The Ordinance has excluded this provision. I have no idea whether the government discussed it with Mahajan,” he said.
Pawar, who had coined the word ‘saffron terrorism’, said he was annoyed with the word ‘Ghar Wapsi’ (reconversion). “This programme will create a rift in society, which will affect the national integration. They should take care that the distance between two communities does not grow.”