Other States

Relief package inadequate, says Uddhav

Promising help: Uddhav Thackarey meets farmers whose crops have been destroyed, at Kannad taluka in Aurangabad district.

Promising help: Uddhav Thackarey meets farmers whose crops have been destroyed, at Kannad taluka in Aurangabad district.   | Photo Credit: Yogesh Londhe

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Sena chief tours Aurangabad district, deflects questions on power tussle

Calling the ₹10,000-crore relief package announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for farmers hit by unseasonal rain “grossly inadequate”, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday demanded that the government provide ₹25,000 per hectare as compensation to farmers without any conditions attached.

The Sena chief, who toured parts of Aurangabad district to assess crop damage, parried questions on the tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sena over government formation, merely saying the people would come to know soon enough if his party would be in power.

“The damage to crops is so extensive that the government must immediately give recompense of at least ₹25,000- ₹50,000 per hectare for these farmers… nothing will happen in the ₹10,000 crore package announced,” Mr. Thackeray said, stating that the farmers stared at an existential crisis because of this ‘wet famine.’

At a time of fraught relations with ally BJP, the Sena president’s criticism of the relief package chimed in with that of the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP), which dismissed the assistance as “a joke.”

When asked if his party would form the new government to ensure help to distressed farmers, Mr. Thackeray refrained from giving a direct answer and merely said it was “inappropriate” to speak of government formation at a time when farmers were suffering.

Dig at Fadnavis

The Sena chief, however, took a swipe at Mr. Fadnavis, remarking: “Despite the monsoon withdrawing, it seems to be saying mi punha yein (I shall return)… now, this has created fear among people.”

Mr. Thackeray was referring to Mr. Fadnavis’s oft-repeated assertion of mi punha yein (‘I shall return’) during the Assembly election campaign that he would easily return as chief minister for a second term.

Mr. Thackeray also took jibes at the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, saying it was New Delhi’s “duty” to help Maharashtra’s farmers in their hour of crisis. “The State has given its wholehearted blessing to the ruling party at the Centre by voting it back to power in the general election. When the Prime Minister had come to Ausa in Latur ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, I had told him the people will give you their blessings if you assure relief during drought. I now expect the Centre to extricate Maharashtra’s farmers from this crisis,” he said.

The Sena chief had toured drought-hit parts of the State before a particularly acrimonious run-up to his party sealing the alliance with the BJP before the general election.

Warning to banks

He exhorted crop insurance companies do away with cumbersome documentation and not create impediments while giving insurance aid to farmers. “I also urge banks to behave in a humane manner in this grave hour facing farmers,” he said, warning that Shiv Sainiks would take to task any financial institution that created obstacles in disbursing credit to farmers.

“There is a need to give succour to farmers and not conduct surveys via helicopters. The farmers’ subsistence crops have been destroyed in one night at many places,” Mr. Thackeray said, remarking that the despair had reached such a point that farmers were contemplating extreme steps.

Appealing to farmers not to commit suicide, the Shiv Sena chief said his party stood firmly behind them and would leave no stone unturned to provide them just assistance.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:02:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/relief-package-inadequate-says-uddhav/article29873404.ece

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