A group of farmers today raised anti-government slogans in support of complete loan waiver demand, during a programme of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at Lasalgaon near here, police said. The chief minister was addressing farmers after presiding over the ‘bhoomi pujan’ (earth breaking ceremony) of a cold storage at Lasalgaon town in the district, nearly 35-km from the district headquarters. According to a Lasalgaon police station official, the debt-ridden farmers tried to stall the CM’s speech as soon as he began to address them and shouted anti-government slogans.
The cultivators demanded that there should be a complete loan waiver and that immediate relief be provided to the distressed farmers. They called the government’s mega loan waiver announcement of Rs 34,000 crore, made in June, as “fake.” Fadnavis then tried to pacify the farmers by saying that he faces such opposition at almost every programme, and asked them to calm down. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Nashik guardian minister Girish Mahajan and some other political leaders were also present at the programme. The cold storage, which will have a capacity of 3.5 tonnes, is being constructed by Kharedi-Vikri Sangh and the Indian Railways.
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The Maharashtra government had announced a mega agri loan waiver of Rs 34,022 crore on June 24 after a state-wide agitation by farmers earlier that month. The government had set a cap of Rs 1.50 lakh for the loan waiver. Notably, the opposition parties and farmer leaders are demanding that the total outstanding loan of farmers should be written off instead of the existing provision to waive loan amount up to Rs 1.50 lakh. Meanwhile, villagers and farmers in Naitale village of Niphad taluka today observed a ‘bandh’, in support of complete loan waiver demand, Lasalgaon police said.