On the opening day of the winter session of the Maharashtra legislature on Monday, aggressive Congress leaders vowed they would not leave Nagpur until the BJP-Sena government announces financial compensation to bail out drought-hit farmers in the state.
They demanded Rs 25,000 per hectare for non-irrigated land and Rs 50,000 per hectare for irrigated land,.
The eventful day started with the Congress launching a massive morcha – Halla bol – to the assembly, to press its demand for relief to distressed farmers. The leaders reached the venue at 1pm and marched towards the assembly hall, but were stopped by the police near Old Morris College, where a public meeting was subsequently held.
Addressing the gathering, former CM Prithviraj Chavan pointed out the government has done nothing to alleviate the suffering of farmers. The percentage of crop damage (aanewari) in some villages has been calculated incorrectly, depriving several farmers of the financial assistance from the government, he alleged.
Threatening that Congress leaders will not leave Nagpur till compensation is announced by the government in the winter session, PCC chief Thakre warned that they will not allow the government to take up other issues in either of the houses, till the package is announced.
Thakre said that though the chief minister has sought Rs 4,000 crore from the Centre, not a single penny has arrived. “We have even demanded loan waiver for farmers who grow crops like cotton, soybean, paddy and even milk produce. But the government is not serious,” he said.
A delegation, led by Congress group leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Chavan and Thakre met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and submitted a memorandum in the matter. Meanwhile, 11 farmers have committed suicide in the past three days in Vidarbha.