Second tranche of aid for Maharashtra farmers before Dec 10: Minister

The Maharashtra government will release in the next 15 to 20 days the second tranche of Rs 2,700 crore out of the total Rs 10,000 crore relief package announced for farmers who lost their crops due to excessive rains and floods, a minister said on Wednesday.

Relief & Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said the state was yet to receive any financial assistance from the Centre for the affected cultivators.

He said funds released under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-Kisan) were being recovered even from farmers who are not income-tax payers.

Earlier this month, the state government had released the first tranche of Rs 2,297 crore for disbursal as relief for farmers who suffered crop loss due to heavy rainfall and floods.

Addressing a press conference here, Wadettiwar said the government has started preparations to disburse the second tranche out of the Rs 10,000 crore relief package announced for the affected farmers.

"A sum of Rs 2,700 crore will be releasedin the next 15 to 20 days that is before December 10). Subsequently, funds for other losses will be released out of the Rs 10,000 crore package," he said.

Wadettiwar cornered the opposition BJP over its allegation that the MVA government is not doing enough for the farmers of Maharashtra.

"Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, farmers were to get Rs ,6000 in three installements. However, only 22 per cent of the farmers in Maharashtra have received all three installments so far," he said.

Besides, money disbursed under the scheme is being taken back from many farmers who are not income-tax payers, but have filed I-T returns for other purposes like education loans, he said.

Farmers who are income-tax payers have been excluded from the scheme.

"Recovery from income-tax payers is fair, but why ask those farmers to return the money who are not income-tax payers?" the minister asked.

"This shows double face of the central government but the opposition in Maharashtra is not saying anything on this issue. The opposition is just levelling baseless allegations against the MVA government over issues related to farmers," said Wadettiwar.

On the BJP alleging that the MVA government has not sent any proposal to the Centre for relief package for losses suffered by farmers, he said the state administration has so far written three letters seeking damage assessment and aid.

Wadettiwar said crops spread across around 41 lakh hectares had suffered losses due to excessive rains.

"We continuously wrote letters to the Central government to send teams to assess losses and provide assistance.

"We wrote three letters but we did not got any reply.

Also, no central team has visited to inspect the losses. We did not get any relief from the Central government," the minister added.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal