103 MLAs raise farmer loan waiver issue in Maharashtra Assembly; Opposition demands list of farmers' names

Nagpur: Under normal circumstances, 10, 20 or at the most 50 MLAs raise questions on the same issue in the Assembly. However, this is the first time in the history of the Maharashtra legislature that more than 100 MLAs are sent to raise questions on the same issue: The unsolved problem with the implementation of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojna (CSMSSY) or farmer loan waivers. Over 100 legislators across party lines want to know the current status of the loan waiver scheme in the state. Usually, it's only around 50-or-so legislators who ask questions on issues of common interest like the outbreak of a disease or a problem in the field of education.

Interestingly, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal — in jail for the past 18 months over a money-laundering case — also submitted written questions to the government.

File image of Ajit Pawar. PTI

File image of Ajit Pawar. PTI

While responding in a written answer, Minister for Cooperation Subhash Deshmukh, said that the government has deposited around Rs 5,142 crore in 9.43 lakh farmers' bank (loan) accounts as of 5 December and that the remaining farmers will receive their loan waiver soon. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' pet project, the loan waiver scheme, is far from completion six months since its announcement.

Most legislators are in the dark about the status of the loan waiver scheme. On Wednesday, members of the Shiv Sena — which incidentally is also in power in the state — also sat on the staircases of the Vidhan Bhavan demanding a complete loan waiver. Questions were asked by 103 MLA, cutting across party lines includes those belonging to ruling BJP, Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Samaj Paksh (RSP), NCP, Congress, Peasant and Workers Party, MNS, AIMIM and independent MLA also raised the voice through question. Ths is the question whiceh were raised in Assembly from Mumbai to Gadchiroli MLA of the 288 legislature's house.

Anant Kalse-Patil, principal secretary of the state legislature told Firstpost that this is the question asked by the largest number of MLAs. In the past, questions on such issues as dengue, farmer suicides were raised by MLAs, but their total number did not exceed 100. Senior NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar put the BJP government in a spot on the third day during the adjournment motion of the Winter Session by asking, "Instead of asking what the Congress-NCP government did in 15 years, the Fadnavis government should give an account of its three-year rule."

"The names of beneficiaries farmers have been announced, but no money has been deposited in their bank accounts to date," he claimed, "The question of loan waivers is the most important in the state. But the government is resorting to 'taareekh pe taareekh' (date after date). No money has been deposited in the bank accounts of farmers until now."

"There is unrest among farmers about how the state government handled the issue," he added, "Farmers feel the government is not doing justice with them. That's why all the Opposition parties had come together for the Jan Aakrosh Halla Bol march in Nagpur on Tuesday. I know nationalised banks aren't cooperating with the government on the loan waiver scheme, so what sort of action is the government taking against them?"

The former deputy chief minister pointed out that the government had on 31 October, put out advertisements about how it had disbursed Rs 34,022 crore worth of loan waivers to 70 lakh farmers. "Every single day, the loan waiver amount and the number of beneficiaries announced by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, Deshmukh and Fadnavis keep changing. If the government deposited the loan amount in farmers' accounts, why is it hiding the names of the farmers and the banks?" he asked.

Pawar also demanded that district- and Assembly constituency-wise list of farmers whose loans have been waived. "Without this list, I’m not going to believe that this government has implemented the scheme. What about MSP price, the damage to cotton? The loan waiver issue is a major concern with the government, so we want a discussion about an adjournment motion." However, Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde rejected the motion on Wednesday.

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2017 15:07:42 IST

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