Sharad Pawar writes to Narendra Modi over Maharashtra farm crisis: NCP chief demands 'unconditional' loan waiver

  • Pawar demanded that the Centre should come to the aid of the farmers and made certain demands, which included a deliberation with the insurance companies, finance ministry's intervention in disbursment of crop loans to farmers, and complete and unconditional farm loan waiver

  • The cooperative credit system is still paralysed since the declaration of demonetisation. Private money lenders and finance companies have resorted to coercive recovery measures, wrote Pawar

  • The meeting of the two leaders comes two days after Modi praised the Sharad Pawar-led party during his speech in the Rajya Sabha on Monday

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who is currently locked in a stalemate with the Shiv Sena and Congress over government-formation in Maharashtra, on Wednesday met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the issue of farmers in Maharashtra.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Pawar shared the letter that he sent to Modi that read, "This year the seasonal rainfall has created havoc engulfing 325 talukas of Maharashtra causing heavy damage of crops over 54.22 lakh hectares of area. To take stock of this unprecedented situation and address the concerns of distressed farmers I had visited Nashik and Vidarbha in first half of November. This year the returning monsoon devastated almost every standing crop in major parts of Maharashtra. I brought to notice this alarming situation to the kind attention of Hon. PM."

In the three-paged letter, Pawar demanded that the Centre should come to the aid of the farmers and made certain demands, which included a deliberation with the insurance companies, finance ministry's intervention in disbursment of crop loans to farmers, "complete and unconditional farm loan waiver", and immediate Central assistance to the farmers who have faced loss due to the monsoon.

Addressing the prime minister, Pawar said that the situation in Nashik and Nagpur districts required special mention due to the "alarming situation". Speaking about Nashik, Pawar said, "In Nashik, the crops like Soyabean, paddy, finger millet, corn, bajra and tomato, onion and other vegetables were at harvesting stage. The incessant unseasonal monsoon completely ruined these crops."

 Sharad Pawar writes to Narendra Modi over Maharashtra farm crisis: NCP chief demands unconditional loan waiver

File image of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. PTI

"Nashik district comprises of eight Adivasi taluks," Pawar further added, "in which paddy is the major source of livelihood." According to the NCP chief, in the last last 10 months, "44 farmers from Nashik district have committed suicides in the face of crisis."

In Nagpur, Pawar wrote in the letter, "According to primary data released by the district authority, crops like cotton, soyabean, paddy, tur (arhar), sorghum on about 45,0000 hectares of area have been ruined and more than 88,000 farmers have been affected."

In the view of these developments, Pawar laid down certain demands by the NCP. Slamming insurance companies, who "have been found completely insensitive to the farmers' distress", Pawar said that these companies are "more inclined to reject the insurance claims on trivial and technical grounds." Pawar said an urgent meeting with these companies should be held.

Detailing on the non-disbursement of crop loans for the last three years, Pawar said, "The cooperative credit system is still paralysed since the declaration of demonetisation. Private money lenders and finance companies have resorted to coercive recovery measures." Pawar urged Modi for finance ministry's intervention in taking necessary steps to resolve the credit crisis.

The NCP chief also asked Modi for immediate central assistance for farmers who have lost their harvest due to incessant and irregular monsoons. Citing the recent assistance announced by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Pawar said, "the relief entails Rs 8,000 per hectare of area for agricultural crop and Rs 18,000 per hectare for horticultural crops. But it's too inadequate to compensate their loss."

Lastly, Pawar demanded that there should a "unconditional" and "complete" farm loan waiver. "The farmers have complained that they haven't yet received the loan waiver. In the wake of the recent damage, the current farm loans should also be waived."

"Due to the prevalence of Presidential Rule in the state, your urgent intervention is highly necessitated."

The meeting of the two leaders comes two days after Modi praised the Sharad Pawar-led party during his speech in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Speaking on the occasion of 250th Session of the Upper House, Modi said other parties, including the BJP, should learn from the NCP and Biju Janata Dal of Naveen Patnaik how to adhere to parliamentary norms.

The praise for the Pawar-led party comes at a time when the NCP and Congress are trying to keep the BJP away from power in Maharashtra, where President's Rule was imposed on 12 November.

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Updated Date: Nov 20, 2019 15:10:21 IST