Nagpur : A Farmers organisation in the Vidarbha region has demanded a Rs 30,000 crore development package from the upcoming Union Budget.

In view of the plight of the farmers, it was high time that the central government looks at agrarian crisis seriously in Vidarbha and announces a hefty development package, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) President Kishore Tiwari said in a statement on Monday.

VJAS, an advocacy group for farmers, said they have demanded a Rs. 30,000 crore package which would take care of the huge backlog for the region, help sustainable crop promotion, support mega micro irrigation schemes and other infrastructure development in the region.

The group has also urged the government to constitute a national-level Commission, which looks into measures to prevent farmer suicides.

The UPA government at the Centre and the ruling Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra has spent over Rs. 5,000 crore towards the irrigation backlog in the past six years, he said.

Since 2006, the state government has announced two separate packages worth Rs 5,825 crore. This was followed by a loan waiver of Rs 4,600 crore from the central government and Rs 1,100 crore in 2009 by the state government, added Tiwari.

“Yet, suicides have not stopped and the region continues to be backward and the sentiments are strongly in favour of a separate state of Vidarbha,” Tiwari pointed out.

The major demands of the farmers include- minimum support price (MSP) for cotton and soybean to match the cost of production with a 50 per cent profit margin, new crop loan to farmers after waiving their existing debt dues, bringing new technology in agriculture and irrigation.

Financial assistance for farm widows and higher education facilities to their wards.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to present the union budget in first week of July. -PTI

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