Congress leader P L Punia today that farmers in Maharashta were in urgent need of loan waiver, as the state witnessed more number of farmers’ suicides and more hit by drought than any other state in the country. He also sought to know that if the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh could waive farm loan, then why couldn’t its Maharashtra counterpart do so. “The most urgent need and demand for loan waiver towards distressed farmers is more relevant in Maharashtra than any other state in the country. Most number of farmers suicides took place in Maharashtra and it is the most drought-affected state in the country,” he said. He was talking to reporters here over the NDA government’s rule in the last years.
He said that Maharashtra chief minister flatly refused to provide loan waiver to distressed farmers, claiming that it would not leave any funds for the development of the state. However, there were a lot of expectations for loan waiver when the BJP promised so in the UP elections. “If the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh waived loan, then can’t it be implemented in Maharashtra, which is much more affected by farmer suicides, water scarcity and drought. Similarly, BJP ally Shiv Sena which had been raising this issue seems to be not serious about it. Had it been serious, they would stepped out of the government on the issue of loan waiver,” he said.
The Congress spokesperson also said that the Modi-led government has failed in reaching out to the rural and agricultural areas. The number of farmer suicides in the country has gone up considerably. Total 12,360 farmers committed suicide in 2014 and 12,602 in 2015. According to experts, the figure stands at 14,000 in 2016, he said.
Punia claimed that around 35 farmers are driven to suicide everyday in our country. And this is primarily due to drought, crop failure, price crash and excess rain. 72 per cent of the suicides are by those farmers, who possess less than two hectares of land.
“In Maharashtra, cases of suicide of 202 farmers, including farm labourers, were reported in January 2017, 202 in February and 233 in March, which came to a total of 637 cases. Financial assistance was given to (the families) of 224 of these diseased, while 138 cases were rejected. 270 cases were said to be under scrutiny,” Punia said. Similarly, last year 3,052 suicide cases were reported and 1,619 were given financial assistance and 1,066 were rejected and 264 were under scrutiny, he claimed. “The figures indicate that most of the suicide cases in the country are from Maharashtra, informed Punia.