Opposition members protesting against the scrapping of five percent reservation to Muslims in education by the State government outside of State Assembly in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Opposition members protesting against the scrapping of five percent reservation to Muslims in education by the State government outside of State Assembly in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Council Adjourned Twice As Oppn Sought Debate Over Losses Due To Untimely Rains

Mumbai : Maharashtra Legislative Council was adjourned after completing very little business on Tuesday following ruckus by Opposition members who demanded admission of their adjournment motion to discuss the issue of unseasonal rains affecting farmers in the state.

As the house came together for the business in the morning, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) demanded a discussion on the losses suffered by farmers due to hailstorms and the recent unseasonal rains, by setting aside all other issues. The government, however, maintained that a discussion would be held on the issues raised by the Opposition after the Question Hour.

Following the disruption of proceedings and slogan shouting by Opposition members against the government, the House was adjourned three times for 15 minutes each by Council Deputy Chairman Vasant Davkhare.

Later, as the ruling coalition and Opposition members continued to trade charges despite their leaders being summoned to Davkhare’s chamber to sort out the issue, the House was adjourned for the day.

NCP leader Sunil Tatkare later told reporters that no issue was more important than the monetary losses suffered by farmers.

“The hailstorms and unseasonal rains have ruined the lives of farmers. We demanded that a discussion be held on that and the relief package of the government. But the government was not ready to hold a discussion. Thus, we boycotted the proceedings,” Tatkare said.

Meanwhile, Munde said that the Opposition will continue with their demand for holding a discussion on the issue before anything else.

“The government needs to immediately conduct panchnamas of the losses suffered by farmers and declare a compensation package for them. In the 100 days of their government, 350 farmers have committed suicide. Until the government relents to our demands, we will not let the House function,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that the government is not ready for discussion on the issue,” he added.

CM To Unveil Dr Ambedkar’s Statue In Japan

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Mumbai : Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would be visiting Japan to unveil Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue at the Koyasan University in the month of May. A delegation of Japanese officials under the leadership of governor of Wakayama prefecture met Fadnavis at the Sahyadri state guest house on Monday.

The delegation expressed Japan’s willingness to invest in the agro-processing sector in a big way. The state would always welcome any such initiative, the chief minister said. A delegation from the Japanese industries is now expected to visit Maharashtra soon. “This is the fall out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan. We welcome the initiative from the Japanese side,” Fadnavis told reporters.

There is vast scope for investment in food processing and cold chain in Maharashtra. Apart from this the cooperation can be extended in tourism and cultural sectors also, he added.

Apart from governor of Wakayama Yoshinobu Nisaka, director of international business and cultural affairs Hiroyuki Tsui and Yoshio Yamashita too were part of the delegation. Industries minister Subhash Desai, Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya along with officials from the tourism and other departments too were present at the meeting.

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Govt Insensitive Towards Farmers’ Problems: Vikhe

Discussion on hardships of farmers was initiated by ruling party legislator, which itself speaks of the government’s failure, taunts Chhagan Bhujbal

Mumbai : The BJP-led government in Maharashtra is not sensitive towards the plight of farmers affected by agrarian crisis, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said here on Tuesday.

“To seek justice for farmers affected by unseasonal rains and hailstorm, we had sought discussion in the House and submitted adjournment notices under rule 97 and 57 of the House to the Speaker Haribhau Bagade,” Vikhe Patil told reporters outside Vidhan Bhawan.

“We demanded that the rest of the day’s agenda of the House be set aside and a discussion be held on this important issue. But the government is not sensitive towards the suffering of farmers,” he said.

Members of the Opposition later burnt copies of the day’s agenda outside the Vidhan Bhawan to protest the ‘anti-farmer’ stance of the Devendra Fadnavis-led government.

NCP group leader Jayant Patil said the farming community in the state is disappointed with the government. “Since January this year, 200 farmers have committed suicide. A compensation of Rs 4,000 crore announced in the last winter session has not reached the farmers yet. If that has not happened in three months, how can Rs 2,000 crore as mentioned in the supplementary demands be given by March 31,” he asked.

Patil said the ‘Jalyukt Shivar Yojana’ announced by the government was nothing but amalgamation of few schemes of the water conservation department initiated by the previous government.

“By default, the budgetary provision for water conservation is always about Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore,” Patil, a former Finance Minister said.

He charged that the government was not serious about curbing farmer suicides in the state.

Patil said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that loan taken from legal money lenders would be reimbursed by the government.

“However, as per an RTI reply received by me, no such decision has been taken,” he said.

Mentioning about a farmer’s suicide, Patil said 45-year-old Vitthal Rathod from Yavatmal who had attended the ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ programme by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Lok Sabha election campaign in the district, committed suicide last month.

“Farmers are disillusioned that the promises made during election campaigns are not being fulfilled after coming to power,” he said.

He said Fadnavis was Modi’s favourite and it was expected that the Chief Minister could get maximum relief for the state from the Centre.

“But this has not happened,” Patil said, adding that the Centre is yet to announce a financial package for the state.

With NCP leader Jayant Patil speaking on the need for “out of the box” thinking and going out of the way to help farmers, Shiv Sena legislator Gulabrao Patil highlighted the discrimination by insurance companies in terms of payment of crop insurance and also area.

“If the amount given to Muktainagar (Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse’s constituency) is about Rs 2,000, the farmer in my constituency in neighbouring Jalgaon is less than Rs 1,000,” he said.

Patil said illiterate farmers face lot of hardships in getting their insurance amount.

“The question is not which government is pro-farmer or anti-farmer. More than 150 MLAs cutting across party lines win their seats with the support of the farming community. If nothing is done, these farmers will come after the legislators with sticks,” he said.

Anil Bonde (BJP) said the administration was insensitive towards the problems of farmers.

“Panchnamas and surveys are conducted after more than a week of unseasonal rains. Surveys for last week’s unseasonal rains have not started,” he said.

Bonde said premium of crop insurance should be paid by the government. “Farmers should take the burden of only 5 to 10 per cent of the premium amount,” he said.

Uday Samant (Shiv Sena) demanded compensation of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per mango tree and cashew tree in Konkan.

Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) taunted the government saying that discussion on hardships of farmers was initiated by ruling party legislator, which itself speaks of the government’s failure.

“Centre has no intentions to provide financial package to the farmers,” Bhujbal said.

Arjun Khotkar (Shiv Sena) said during the Congress-NCP rule, cotton growers got Rs 6,000 per quintal, but now they are getting Rs 3,900 minimum support price. “We have problems facing our electorate,” he said.

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