Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, lodged in a prison here in a money laundering case, has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stating that loan waiver is the right of farmers. In a letter to Fadnavis, the former deputy chief minister said, "the loan waiver is the right of farmers if they fail to get the minimum support price (MSP) against the expenditure incurred on production." Bhujbal stated he had read a news report about a farmer from his Yeola Assembly constituency, Krishna Dongre who has sought permission from the CM to end his life. The NCP leader said the concerned farmer wanted to kill himself because "he is distressed that not a single minister or office-bearer from the ruling party came to Yeola to give him a moral support." "Dongre who is an onion producer in Yeola taluka had set his standing crop spread over five acres on fire as he failed to get the price for the produce," he stated. Bhujbal said he wanted to draw attention of the chief minister to this "serious development". "Loan waiver is the right of farmers if they fail do get the MSP," the letter said. Citing Dongre's letter, Bhujbal said the farmer has become debt-ridden because of drought, hailstorm, and low market prices of agriculture produce." "Dongre stated that because of drought in Yeola, he shifted to Kannad taluka and took eight-acre land on rent to sow onion crop. Fortunately, the crop was good and production was 100 per cent. However, before be could take the crop to market, the prices fell drastically.
The onions virtually rotted and Dongre suffered loss to the tune of Rs 4 lakh. "What Dongre has done is symbolic. All farmers in the state have the same suffering.. If the government cannot give a good price for the agriculture produce, there is no option but to demand a loan waiver," the former minister wrote. The Congress and the NCP have been stridently demanding complete loan waiver for farmers on the floor of legislature and are also being joined by the members of Shiv Sena. Citing the BJP's electoral promise in Uttar Pradesh of waiving off the farmers' loans, the Opposition is asking for the same relief in the BJP-ruled Maharashtra. The issue has paralysed the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council during ongoing Budget session.
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