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Nov 13, 2019-Wednesday



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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

MP farmers in fix with poll sops from govt, oppn

Both parties are wooing farmers ahead of state elections later this year.

bhopal Updated: Aug 04, 2018 15:44 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar, Hindustan Times
(HT photo)

The Madhya Pradesh farmer is in a fix. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is offering him the option of paying just 50% of the principal on the loan he has taken, promising to waive the interest on it. The Congress party is claiming it would waive all farm loans if it comes to power in the state for the first time in 15 years.

Both parties are wooing farmers ahead of state elections later this year.

“The farmers fear that if they settle their loans now and the Congress comes to power, they will lose out. This has resulted in farmers showing tepid interest in the government’s Samadhan scheme,” an official in the government’s cooperative department said.

In the past four months, only 13% of the 1.65 million farmers who had been declared defaulters have got themselves registered for availing of the benefits of the scheme applicable to cooperative bank loans. The interest waiver alone would cost ₹2,600 crore.

Given the unenthusiastic response from farmers, the state government has extended the deadline for the scheme until August 31 from July 31. The deadline had earlier been extended to July 31 from June 15 after only 4% of the defaulters had turned up to join the scheme.

The cooperative department is going the extra mile by holding door-to-door campaigns and collecting letters of consent from farmers to take advantage of the scheme.

“It is getting very difficult to convince farmers on the field as they are hoping that the government will announce full waiver of the loan under the election pressure,” said a second official of the cooperative department who, like the first, requested anonymity.

Farmers don’t want to lose out, said Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Anil Yadav.

“In Rajasthan, the BJP government of chief minister Vasundhara Raje waived crop loans upto ₹50,000 so farmers, especially marginal farmers, are waiting for such an announcement. The BJP government is under pressure and they want to resolve the problem of defaulting farmers before the election and this is the reason they are convincing them by getting letter of consent,” Yadav said. Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesperson JP Dhanopia said only those farmers who were BJP activists had shown interest in the scheme. “Congress president Rahul Gandhi made the announcement of waiving the entire crop loan and farmers are showing their trust in him,” he said.

“The letter of consent is nothing but showing the nervousness of the BJP government to convince the farmers in their favour,” said Dhanopia

MP cooperative minister Vishwas Sarang said: “Congress is trying to create confusion but farmers of Madhya Pradesh are smart. Over 600,000 farmers have signed letters of consent and the numbers will surely increase till August 31.”