Maharashtra leaders take potshots at Centre; launch scheme for farmers
Ministers of the state’s ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government took potshots at the Centre’s farm laws whilst unveiling a new policy for agricultural pumps and declaring an amnesty scheme for farmers to clear outstanding power bills.
While talking about the policy, state public works department (PWD) minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said, “Today, there are protests in the country because of the wrong decisions taken for farmers. However, the Maharashtra government has brought out a good policy that will benefit lakhs of farmers.”
State energy minister Nitin Raut also criticised the Centre’s laws. “At a time when the Centre is forcing laws on the farmers, we are bringing light to their lives with these policies,” he said.
The state on Wednesday launched the new policy through which farmers will be provided uninterrupted power supply. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “The biggest demand from farmers through the years has been that they need power supply through the day.” However, he also requested for farmers to pay their pending bills. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar also instructed the energy department to be stricter with the implementation of the policy. “The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s wrongdoings have resulted in the power arrears ballooning in the state,” Pawar said.
According to the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL), the arrears from farmers for electricity bills for agricultural pumps now amounts to ₹45,559 crore. There are 44.38 lakh farmers utilising power to run agricultural pumps in the state.
Among various options, farmers will get a 50% waiver if they clear their pending amount within a year. They will also be given three years to clear their bills. Of the recovered amount, as much as 33% will be reserved for the concerned gram panchayat to improve the infrastructure of the local power network, and another 33% will be reserved for the district concerned, for the same purpose.
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