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  Metros   Mumbai  05 Nov 2017  Many farmers still clueless about eligibility

Many farmers still clueless about eligibility

Published : Nov 5, 2017, 1:42 am IST
Updated : Nov 5, 2017, 1:42 am IST

The Shiv Sena leadership too has asked its leaders to organise local-level agitations.

(Representational image)
 (Representational image)

Mumbai: Bhaskar Shinde, a 64-year-old farmer from Vashi village of Bhum tehsil, Osmanabad district, has been constantly logging into the portal set up by the state government to learn whether he’s eligible for its loan waiver scheme — but to no avail. Mr Shinde’s is not an isolated case; he’s merely one of the thousands across the state.

Expressing his anguish, Mr Shinde said, “We wanted a loan. But banks are not initiating the process, as there is no confirmation as to whether the earlier loan was waived off or not. What is a small farmer to do in such a situation?”

The state government has decided to transfer the money in stages. In the first stage, it short-listed 8.5 lakh eligible farmers. It is trying to clear the list of farmers who meet all criteria. Still, the long wait is making farmers nervous.

“There is no clarity about the exact amount that these farmers are going to receive. There is news that in many places farmers are receiving only `500 to `2,000. This uncertainty has brought about more tension,” said Dr Ajit Navale, convenor, farmers core committee.

In light of the farmer’s apprehensions, cooperative minister Subhash Deshmukh has been trying to placate them. “A huge amount of data is being processed. It is the country’s largest loan waiver ever. But farmers have complete faith in our government. All these issues will be cleared very soon,” said Mr Deshmukh.

Meanwhile, looking at the chaos in the implementation of the loan waiver scheme, opposition parties and farmers’ organisations have upped their ante against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government.

The loan waiver has been a politically sensitive issue in state politics for almost a year and a half now. The BJP declared the loan waiver scheme in June in light of continuous agitations by opposition parties as well as farmers’ organisations.

A united opposition had covered the length and breadth of the state for a month and a half, demanding that loans be waived off. Later on, farmer leaders such as Raju Shetti and Raghunathdada Patil had stirred parts of the state. A historical strike on June 1 by farmers forced the state government to take a step back from its earlier stand of ‘a loan waiver at the right time.’ Now all these forces are mobilising again.

The Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) farmers cell will meet on Sunday in Aurangabad to decide the course of the agitation, among other things.

The party is planning to launch tehsil-level protest across the state. Congress has already hit the streets with its Jan Akrosh Yatra, which was kicked off from Ahmednagar on October 31. Congress leaders have asked its bloc-level workers to actively participate in the protest.

Mr Shetti, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Member of Parliament, has been protesting about sugar cane prices as well as loan waiver. This week, he levelled serious allegations against the OSD in chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s government for carrying out “dubious work with the loan waiver scheme”.

The Shiv Sena leadership too has asked its leaders to organise local-level agitations.

However, Mr Deshmukh is unperturbed. “Farmers have thoroughly rejected these parties. The government’s intentions to help farmers are well received. Farmers know that Congress and NCP are the real culprits for their situation. We are concentrating on implementation than replying these people,” he said.

Tags: loan waiver scheme, farmers