Thursday, January 6, 2011

For Maharashtra Government, Rs1,000cr = Rs216cr-TIMES OF INDIA

For Maharashtra Government, Rs1,000cr = Rs216cr-

Mockary of farm relief package –TIMES OF INDIA

NAGPUR: The cat is finally out of the bag. The state government had announced aRs1,000 crore relief package for farmers affected by unseasonal rains during the winter session of state legislature in the city with much fanfare. However, it had refused to provide the break up even after repeated demands by the Opposition and media. The reason is now clear. The government would actually provide only Rs216 crore for this year's damage.

The government had no intention of paying the whole amount from its pocket. Soon after the session was over, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan along with prominent leaders of Maharashtra rushed to Delhi and managed to get Rs600 crore from centre. The government created an impression that this amount was in addition toRs1,000 crore package announced. However, Vidarbha's ministers – Shivajirao Moghe, Anil Deshmukh, Nitin Raut and Rajendra Mulak -- admitted during a press conference on Thursday that Rs1,000 crore was inclusive of Rs600 crore central grant. Of the Rs400 crore state government share, Rs184 crore is interest waiver amount of grape farmers announced last year.

This means farmers will get only Rs 216 crore from Democratic Front (DF) government for this year's damage. State president of BJP Sudhir Mungantiwar termed it a cruel joke on farmers. "The government created an impression that farmers would get Rs1,600 crore compensation. Now, we come to know that it will spend only Rs216 crore. No wonder farmers continue to commit suicide. The government should resign over this shameful deception," he said. Farm activist Kishor Tiwari demanded that all ministers of Vidarbha should resign over this. "The government message is loud and clear – Vidarbha will not get anything. What is the use of these ministers continuing in government," he asked.

Western Mahaharashtra will corner funds

The lack of seriousness on the part of state government in tacking the farm crisis has come to the fore. Even after announcing the packages with much fanfare during the winter assembly session and later after meeting the PM, the state would in effect only be shelling out Rs 216 crore for the crisis-ridden farmers. Farm activist Kishor Tiwari said that most of the money would go to supporters of Western Maharashtra's overlords. He claimed that crop in 5.5 lakh hectares was damaged for which Rs 2,000 crore was required. "The whole state requires around Rs5,000 crore.

Against that, the government has allocated very little," he said. MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre had stressed during the recent winter session that no package could be declared by including planned expenditure amount in it. However, most government relief packages violate this rule. The government had announced a Rs 10,000 crore Vidarbha development package in December 2009. This was nothing but Vidarbha's share of funds as per Governor's formula.

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