Rs 800-crore package for coffee growers soon: PM

Singh told the delegation, led by KPCC president R V Deshpande and AICC leader Oscar Fernandes, that the Centre would sympathetically deal with the issues raised by the delegation on areca growers, flood assistance etc.

On the controversial Mahadayi dispute, the prime minister told the state team that he would make one more attempt to convince the Goa government to resolve the issue through talks. “I tried to convince the Goa government for the last four years,” he said and pointed out that Goa was for setting up of a tribunal as for years it has opposed talks (the Centre has now taken a decision to set up the Tribunal).

Speaking to reporters on the coffee package, Deshpande and former minister B L Shankar said the earlier package announced by the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram did not include loan waiver. This time, loan waiver has been included. The earlier package was not of much help to the farmers as it included only rescheduling of term loan. Coffee prices too fell in the last two years. This year, when prices are surging, the crop has been hit by rains and pest.

On areca, the delegation urged the Prime Minister and other ministers — Anand Sharma, Sushil Shinde, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sharad Pawar and C P Joshi—to take steps to stop smuggling, fix a base price and ensure quality control. It also wanted the outstanding loan of about Rs 250 crore to be waived as recommended by Nabard.
Singh said instructions have been given to release Rs 500 crore out of the Rs 1,000 crore that he had announced for flood relief.

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