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Farmer refutes Maharashtra govt benefits as claimed in propaganda advertisement

Pune district agricultural officer Subhash Katkar said they were not consulted by the publicity department which prepared the advertisement.

pune Updated: Nov 05, 2017 00:09 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Advertisement published by BJP-led government to celebrate its third anniversary shows photograph of Shantaram Katke. (HT PHOTO)

Pune A Maharashtra government advertisement claiming that a farmer from Pune district received multiple benefits as a result of government policies, has been refuted by the farmer featured in the advertisement.

On October 31, the BJP government published an advertisement prominently in a number of newspapers to celebrate the third anniversary of the government. The advertisement featured farmer Shantaram Katke from village Bhivari in Purandhar taluka of Pune district with a first person account stating that he had received multiple benefits as a result of government policies.

Along with a photograph of a smiling Katke, the farmer is quoted as saying that he received five acres of irrigated land, a government grant of ₹2.30 lakh for excavating a farm pond and that he was now growing cash crops like tomatoes, beans, green peas and leafy vegetables instead of jowar and maize.

When contacted by Hindustan Times, Katke said he had received ₹1.80 lakh under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in two instalments for constructing a farm pond and not ₹2.30 lakhs.

He said that he had always grown tomato on his farm and “if the government is claiming that I started growing tomato after construction of the farm pond, that is not true.”

“One day some government officers and gram panchayat members took my pictures in different angles at my farm pond and went away. I came to know of my picture in the newspaper advertisement only when my son showed it to me,” Katke said.

Pune district agricultural officer Subhash Katkar told Hindustan Times that they were not consulted by the publicity department of the Maharashtra government which prepared the advertisement. “What Katke says is not true. The fact is that we have given farm pond benefits to 1,300 farmers in the last one-and-half years,” he said.

Katke said he was worried as his name did not appear in the list of loan waiver beneficiaries published by the government although he had a loan burden of ₹2.30 lakh from the district cooperative bank.

First Published: Nov 05, 2017 00:06 IST