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  Metros   Mumbai  20 Apr 2018  Farmer suicides soar despite Maharashtra waiver

Farmer suicides soar despite Maharashtra waiver

THE ASIAN AGE. | UMAKANT DESHPANDE
Published : Apr 20, 2018, 1:15 am IST
Updated : Apr 20, 2018, 1:19 am IST

The government allocated funds amounting to Rs 171 crore, out of which 156 crore was the principal amount.

The government allocated funds amounting to Rs 171 crore, out of which 156 crore was the principal amount.
 The government allocated funds amounting to Rs 171 crore, out of which 156 crore was the principal amount.

Mumbai: The state’s farm loan waiver programme has apparently failed to rescue farmers from the clutches of village loan sharks who are blamed for most suicides.

While the agricultural loan relief scheme that the government anno-unced in March 2015 aimed at stopping farmers’ suicides by reducing the pressure of illegal moneylenders, 600 farmers have killed themselves in the first three months of this year.

 

Farmers believe that the rising suicides show the loan waiver scheme has failed to deliver even as the government machinery has been ineffective in eliminating the illegal money-lending business despite the stringent laws.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis declared the government would rescue farmers from private moneylenders. He announced the waiver in March 2015 for 2.23 lakh farmers in Vidharbha and Marathwada who had taken the loan from the private moneylenders.

The government allocated funds amounting to Rs 171 crore, out of which 156 crore was the principal amount.

This waiver was expected to benefit only farmers who had taken loans from 2,200 licensed moneylenders. But the government has no control over the more than 1 lakh illegal moneylenders who operate across the state, said Vidharbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishor Tiwari. They are charging compound interest and pressure of recovery from henchmen of these moneylenders is the main reason for farmer’s suicides, Mr Tiwari said.

 

The government enacted a special law in 2014 to control illegal money lending. For the first offence, the punishment is one year’s rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 15,000 and for the second offence five years’ rigorous imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine.

Still, there has been no action, an official of the cooperative department said. The government sho-uld initiate strict action against such illegalities as many government servants and teachers are into illegal money lending, Mr Tiwari demanded.

Spokespersons Sachin Sawant of the Congress party and Nawab Malik of the Nationalist Congress Party have slammed the government over the issue and demanded waiver of these private loans, which are more responsible for farmers’ suicide.

 

Tags: nawab malik, cm devendra fadnavis, farmer loan waiver, sachin sawant