The opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council today staged a walk-out, terming the BJP-led state government’s reply on farmers’ issues, including compensation for losses due to bollworm attack on cotton crop, as unsatisfactory. Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP), Neelam Gorhe, Jayant Patil, Amar Singh, Jogendra Kawade and others cornered the government on the issues of farmer suicides, loan waiver, irrigation, minimum support prices and losses suffered by cotton growers due to bollworm attack.
Munde demanded that the government announce a compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectareto cotton growers affected by the bollworm attack. He also demanded that the government publish a list of farmers who have got the benefit of farm loan waiver, and the details of money deposited in their accounts. Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot said that orders have been issued to district collectors to conduct panch-nama (inspection) of the losses due to the pest attack. Also, complaints were being collected from the farmers who sowed BT cotton seeds (but still suffered the pest attack), so that losses on account of the bollworm can be recovered from the seed manufacturing companies, said the minister.
“A review meeting on BT seed was held in the presence of Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and NCP chief Sharad Pawar via video conference. The Union government will be sending a report to the state government on this matter,” Khot said.
“I want to assure the house that a compensation for bollworm attack-affected farmers will be announced before the end of the (ongoing) winter session,” the minister said. However, not satisfied with ministers’ replies, opposition members staged a walk-out. “This government is completely anti-farmer and is not serious about the issue of agrarian crisis,” said Munde. Earlier, during the discussion, Jayant Patil asked whether the research conducted by agriculture universities reaches the farmers. The House must also know what research these universities are conducting to address farmers’ problems, Patil said. Khot said that agriculture universities are conducting research on BT seeds, and very soon better seeds will be made available to farmers.