Sangli: Eggs and hens were sent flying in the air by party workers of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, who were protesting on the route being taken by Maharashtra Chief Minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis on his Maha Janadesh Yatra in Sangli on Monday. Fadnavis is currently campaigning for the upcoming assembly elections. On Monday afternoon, as the CM's convoy was passing through Takri-Palus Road, Islampur, when a group of people appeared and tried to block the way. Protesters threw eggs on the road and tossed 'Kadaknath' chickens in the air to protest the lack of action in the alleged Rs 500cr scam involving the black hens which are indigenous to Madhya Pradesh . According to reports, a company named Maharayat Agro India Private Limited, convinced farmers to invest in rearing Kadaknath hens. Those farmers allegedly lost Rs 500 crore in the scheme and police have lodged an offence in the matter.
Farmers had been given Kadaknath chickens and some cash and told that once the chickens would grow into hens, they could be returned to the company and would be paid a good price for these. But after three months, when the farmers tried to return the hens to the company, they got nothing. As many as 42 farmers have filed a police complaint in the case. This breed of chickens is indigenous to Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and is among the 25 rare breeds of its kind in the world.
On September 6, the leader of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Raju Shetti, approached the ED to lodge a complaint, urging it to probe the financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 500 crore, committed by the chairman and the board of directors of Maharayat Agro Pvt Ltd, a poultry-rearing and marketing cooperative based in Islampur, Sangli district.Stating that more than 10,000 farmers had been duped, Shetti demanded the bank accounts of the company officials be frozen immediately and they be questioned at the earliest. An FIR in connection with the scam was earlier lodged at a Pune police station. Shetti alleged that the company had approached the farmers with proposal for rearing and marketing ‘Kadaknath’ chicken by promising hefty returns on bond papers. Furthermore, money was also collected towards procurement of chicken fodder, with the assurance that the investors would be supplied eggs and chicken. But even four-five months after making investments, the farmers did not get a single paisa in return.
In his complaint, Shetti alleged that even after a police case was registered against the chairman and board of directors of the firm, no action had been taken against them, as they are politically connected. Shetti has claimed that a minister, Sadabhau Khot, is related to one of the directors of this company. Khot has, however, denied these allegations.
At Walwa taluka, in Kapurwadi, a farmer, Santosh Kadam, set up a cage for 600 Kadaknaths by investing Rs 7,20,000. But now, thousands of eggs are lying at home, unsold. He has no money to buy poultry feed and instead, he is feeding them leaves. He has borrowed a loan against his wife's small savings and had auctioned her gold to buy into this scheme. Now that the business has collapsed, he has no glimmer of hope.