Pawar seeks waiver, fresh loan for flood-hit farmers

Pawar seeks waiver, fresh loan for flood-hit farmers

NCP president Sharad Pawar (PTI Photo)

NCP president Sharad Pawar on Wednesday demanded a complete crop loan waiver for the agriculturists affected by recent deluge in western Maharashtra.

He also sought credit for the affected farmers for fresh sowing in the aftermath of unprecedented floods that have damaged crops on several thousand hectares in the region.

"Sugarcane crop on thousands of hectares has been completely destroyed. But loans taken by farmers from cooperative societies will remain. Therefore, we will urge the government to grant a complete loan waiver for the current year. We demand that a fresh crop loan be granted so that agriculturists can undertake cultivation in affected fields," said the former Union agriculture minister.

Pawar was addressing a gathering at Kavathesar village in Shirol taluka of Kolhapur district, which was worst-hit along with Sangli, after reviewing the situation.

Pawar said the erstwhile UPA government had waived farm loans to the tune of "Rs 70,000 crore" and that too when there was no immediate crisis.

"If the debt of farmers was written off that time, why can't it be done now? This crisis is unprecedented and worse than the 2005 deluge. This time, even houses at the higher altitude suffered inundation and damage," he said.

Pawar said the sugarcane crop was damaged due to excessive water-logging in fields.

"Even the soybean crop was damaged. Now, factories will decide what to do with the destroyed sugarcane. As sugarcane crop is completely damaged, then it is better to plant fresh sugarcanes. In that case, factories will arrange payment for seedlings," he added.

The NCP chief said the Opposition will ask the government to build new houses for the people whose houses got damaged.

He said landless farm labourers should be provided work immediately.

Five districts in western Maharashtra--Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Satara and Solapur--were affected by floods and heavy rains.