Mumbai: A day after five farmers in Akola district attempted suicide over the delay in compensation for land acquired for a road project, it has emerged that one of them was lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi three years ago.
The Congress has held the Fadnavis government responsible for this and condemned it for forcing the farmers to attempt suicide.
Modi, in his 'Mann Ki Baat' programme in 2016, had praised the 42-year-old Murlidhar Raut for his humanitarian work post demonetisation in November 2016.
Raut, a resident of Shelad village in Balapur tehsil, was praised by Modi for feeding hungry people, mostly highway passengers, carrying demonetised Rs 500 and 1,000 notes at his hotel immediately after the note ban.
Modi had lauded Raut for telling passengers carrying old notes and without access to banks and ATMs on the way, to first have their meals at his Hotel Maratha, situated on National Highway 6, and think about paying later.
The PM had said that Raut would ask people to pay later when they had a new currency and they did so after a few days, while passing through the route again. An official said the land on which the hotel stood was later taken over for the highway widening project.
The provocation for Monday's suicide attempt was an unfavourable ruling recently by an arbitration panel in the land acquisition case, he said.
The five are being treated at a hospital in Akola and their condition is said to be stable, he added.
Shameful: Ashok Chavan
“It is shameful that the farmer Raut who earned the praise from PM Modi was forced to commit suicide due to insensitiveness of the government.
This exposed how the Fadnavis government is inefficient and non-serious about farmers,” Ashok Chavan, former chief minister and former Congress president criticised.
“The farmers were complaining against the meagre compensation. One of the farmers who tried to commit suicide is Archana Takle, widow of farmer Bharat Takle who committed suicide one-and-half year ago.
Instead of helping the family of the farmer who committed suicide, his wife was pushed towards death. This shows government's apathy towards farmers,” he criticised.
He also said that farmers were complaining that those who are connected to Minister of State Dr. Ranjeet Patil got a big amount as compensation. The same thing happened in Dharma Patil case where people related to minister Jaikumar Rawal got a big amount as compensation.