Sena says save farmers at any cost, seeks more aid

Yuva Sena Chief Aaditya Thackeray observing the loss of paddy in the rain-hit areas of Kudal taluka in Sindhudurg district. Photo/Twitter (@ShivSena)

The Shiv Sena on Monday said the intricacies of government formation in Maharashtra should not push rain-hit farmers towards existential crisis and demanded that they be provided relief package of about Rs 30,000 crore.

Farmers in the state need to be saved at any cost, it said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' while terming as inadequate the Rs 10,000 crore aid announced by the state government for crop damage due to unseasonal rains.

The country is already facing economic slowdown resulting in lakhs of people losing jobs, and at such a time those dependent on agriculture are also suffering due to the untimely rains, it pointed out.

The Sena's comments have come at a time when it is locked in a bitter tussle with senior ally BJP over government formation in the state.

"Farmers should not be pushed to face the existential crisis due to the untimely showers in Maharashtra, which is also going through political intricacy," it said.

The government's priority should be to extend assistance to cultivators, the editorial said, adding that "farmers should be saved, whatever may be the cost for it."

"The already announced amount of Rs 10,000 crore is inadequate. Farmers should have been provided an assistance of Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore," it opined.

As per an initial evaluation, crops on 54.22 lakh hectares across 325 talukas in the state have been damaged.

"The woes of cultivators should be addressed. Whatever may be the form of the current government in the state, it should offer Rs 25,000 per hectare to the affected farmers," the Marathi publication said.

Farmers have nowhere to go, as their major crops like soybean, grapes, cotton and sugarcane have been severely affected, it noted, adding that horticulture and floriculture have suffered a setback due to untimely showers last month.

The Sena cited the case of 50-year-old farmer Dharma Jadhav who recently committed suicide after being depressed as unseasonal rains flooded his paddy field in Palghar district.

"He was not debt-ridden, but his crop was damaged due to heavy rains following which he ended his life," it said.

"The government's priority should be to extend the assistance to farmers. It should not waste time in technicalities of damage assessment, but ensure that farmers are the direct beneficiaries of its assistance, it said.

The Sena said around 50 lakh farmers have taken crop insurance and asked the insurers to not create any hurdles in the clearance of the claims of cultivators.

"If the crop insurance companies create trouble for farmers, they should understand that they will have to face the Sena," the Uddhav Thackeray-led party warned. 

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