The Union Minister of state (PMO), Prithviraj Chavan expressed his displeasure over the affidavit of the state government that was filed before the Supreme Court, blaming the union government for not releasing funds in time.
The affidavit, filed before the Apex Court, which was bearing public interest litigation, had given an impression that the relief measures in six suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha have delayed since the funds earmarked under the PM package were not released in time. This had prompted the PM office to order an inquiry into the facts of the matter.
Chavan, who was here for a by-election campaign made it clear that the state had filed a wrong affidavit in which the government said that it did not get the token grant of Rs 50-lakh from the PM package for the affected districts in time.
He said that the PM had given the token grant for the education and health-care for the families of farmers who committed suicide. The grant has been distributed to the needy farmers.
“How can the state government blame the union government for not getting it in time?,” the union minister asked and informed that the state government has urged for more funds which are yet to be released. Chavan said that the prime minister had announced Rs 3750-crore package for farmers. Out of these, Rs 2200-crore have been allotted for irrigation while Rs 1500-crore have been allotted for subsidies and waiving off loans of farmers.
Answering a question, Chavan said that it was not possible to waive the loans of farmers. “No such scheme can be introduced only for farmers of Vidarbha. If we waive the loans of farmers of Vidarbha, such scheme should be introduced for other farmers in the country,” he pointed out.
Earlier, the chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh also admitted that it was a mistake on the part of the state government to give an affidavit before the Supreme Court that blamed the union government for the tardy implementation of the PM package for the debt-ridden farmers in the region. Later, Deshmukh personally wrote a letter to Singh seeking to end the controversy.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of suicide abating in the villages of Vidarbha. In the last 24 hours two farmers committed suicide adding to the rising toll of 260 this year. The victims were identified as: Uddhav Rayaji Dhenge of Sapli in Washim district and Dhanraj Rathod of Daheli-Tanda of Yavatmal district.