Pune: Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday assured a complete farm loan waiver in the state, and also announced formation of an experts' committee on the sugar industry. His announcement of full loan waiver came only a day after the Shiv Sena-led government formally announced a farm loan waiver upto Rs two lakh.
The chief minister, speaking at the annual general meeting of the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) here, also announced that a branch of the research institute will be set up in the Marathwada region.
NCP president Sharad Pawar, chairman of the VSI, was present on this occasion.
"We have waived loans upto Rs 2 lakh as immediate relief to cultivators. But we will also make sure that their entire (crop) loan is waived," Thackeray said.
On Tuesday, the state cabinet approved a loan waiver scheme under which short-term crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh, taken between 1 April, 2015, to 31 March, 2019, will be written off. Short-term restructured crop loan arrears up to September 30, 2019, will also be waived.
Thackeray hailed the role the VSI has played in the sugar sector. Modern technology reached farmers through the institute and that was why the sugar industry in Maharashtra was number one in the country, he said.
"The sugar industry is facing several problems. Policy decisions will be taken by forming a committee of experts to solve the problems," a government statement quoted Thackeray as saying.
Sugar factories should explore production of by-products (such as ethanol) too, the chief minister said.
Thackeray also took a dig at former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis over his statement that the BJP was the single largest party in the Maharashtra Assembly. "Sharad Pawar has taught us how to grow more from less area of land, and also how to form a government with less number of MLAs in the legislative assembly," Thackeray, who is Shiv Sena president, quipped.
The BJP and Sena fought the 21 October Assembly polls together, but their alliance collapsed after the latter walked out and joined hands with the Congress and the NCP to form an unlikely coalition government.
Pawar, in his speech, called for collective efforts to increase sugar production. Sugar industry was a key part of the rural economy of Maharashtra and fetches good revenue for the state, the former Union agriculture minister noted.
"Every factory needs to undertake sugarcane development program to increase the productivity and quality of cane," he said.
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Updated Date: Dec 25, 2019 21:29:45 IST