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Three to four farmers ending lives in Maha everyday since Shinde govt came to power, claims Ajit Pawar

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Pune:  Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar on Thursday criticised the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government, claiming that three to four farmers commit suicide in the state everyday ever since the dispensation came to power in June this year.

He also alleged that despite repeated requests, the government has not declared a wet drought in the parts of the state that experienced heavy rains and witnessed large-scale damage to crops.

Pawar, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly, was addressing a gathering in Baramati, his constituency in Pune district.

Shinde took oath as the chief minister on June 30, a day after the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government collapsed due to the rebellion within the Shiv Sena led by him. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supported the group of rebel Sena legislators headed by Shinde to form the government. The previous MVA government helmed by Uddhav Thackeray had Sena, NCP and Congress as partners.

“When we were in the government, we took the decision of loan waiver. Due to it, Rs 50,000 will now come into the accounts of those who repay their farm loans on time. We had made several key decisions (in favour of farmers). But since this government came to power, everyday three to four farmers are committing suicide. They are taking the extreme step despite rains,” he said.

The reason for them to take this step is that they failed to get compensation for their damaged crops that they were supposed to receive, he said.

“Some farmers lost their ‘kharif’ crops, some lost their rabi crops due to the heavy rains and flood situation. While this is happening, surveys are still undergoing,” he added.

In some cases, the compensation was given, but the amount was so meagre that the farmers were not ready to accept it, the NCP leader said.

He alleged that those in power in the state do not have time to address the farmers’ woes.

“For everything, they (state government) look at the Centre. I had asked them to declare a wet drought in the regions where heavy rains battered crops. But they did not do so,” he said.

Talking about the onion cultivators in Maharashtra, he said when NCP chief Sharad Pawar was the Union agriculture minister, if anyone from the state called him whenever the prices of onions would fall down, he used to allow the export of the yield.

“This was possible because someone close to everyone was there in the Centre. But there is no one for us there today,” the former deputy chief minister said.

He added that now when the prices of onion plummet, the farmers approach NCP MPs Supriya Sule, Amol Kolhe, Sunil Tatkare and Srinivas Patil, who try to provide help to them.

Pawar also said the Centre’s sugar export policy last year was good as permission to export white sugar and raw sugar was given.

“But this time, there is a catch. A mill-wise quota is being decided to keep Uttar Pradesh’s interest in mind. During the meeting, I told CM Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and minister Atul Save that the mill-wise quota should not be provided keeping the interest of Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

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