Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday announced a Rs 1,000-crore relief package for farmers affected by last month’s untimely rains.
The CM said the government was also working on a long-term solution to the problem, conducting a study on changing agriculture patterns and working on a comprehensive crop insurance scheme.
The sops announced by Chavan in his maiden speech in the state Assembly include continued power supply till April 2011 for farmers who have defaulted on their bills and a restructuring of loans taken by grape cultivators in north and western Maharashtra.
Crops on 5.44 lakh hectares of farmland across Maharashtra were damaged in last month’s
rains. While most of this land held paddy, the rest held soyabean, grape and onion.
“Climate is changing due to global warming,” Chavan said, while discussing the long-term relief measures. “The end of the monsoon is delayed every year. As such, we need to make changes in the way we farm.”
Chavan’s announcement put an end to disruptions that had stalled the Assembly since the winter session began on Wednesday. The Opposition remained dissatisfied with the compensation amount, however, and staged a walkout in protest.