Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had to face the ire of the Opposition as well as his party legislators as he announced the details of the Rs2,000-crore compensation package for cotton, paddy and soya farmers on the concluding day of the state legislature’s winter session.
The cotton farmers would get Rs4,000 per hectare whereas paddy and soya farmers would be given Rs2,000 per hectare in cash. However, the relief package came with riders. While two hectares is the maximum limit for the relief, paddy and soya farmers would get the compensation only if their loss is 25% or more. The legislators from the Opposition as well as ruling Congress protested against the conditions demanding that the ceiling be extended to four hectares.
“The farmers will not get anything in their hands. Its better to not announce the package at all,” said Opposition leader in the Assembly, Eknath Khadse.
Congress legislators Gopaldas Agrawal and Nilesh Parvekar, too, staged a protest against the government’s refusal to increase the individual compensation amount. Chavan, meanwhile, insisted that the compensation would be in addition to the money that they get from selling their crop. Increasing the amount would affect the financial condition of the state adversely, he added.
Unhappy with the clarification, the Opposition staged a walkout describing the government as anti-farmers. Speaking to the media, Chavan later said that Congress MLAs were not wrong in criticising their government.
“They are voicing the concerns of the farmers. We will positively consider a hike in the compensation amount,” he said.
This was the first occasion when the Congress legislators, including the state Congress president Manikrao Thakre, were seen criticising their government for the “meagre” aid granted to the farmers.