The Maharashtra assembly today passed supplementary demands amounting to Rs 11,104 crore for 2016-17 amid din as the opposition and Shiv Sena MLAs vociferously demanded loan waiver for farmers. The demands were passed without debate in the Lower House which witnessed three adjournments as MLAs of ruling alliance partner Shiv Sena joined the opposition in their protest. The House was later adjourned for the day after clearing a few bills amid pandemonium. Opposition members were on their feet immediately after the House resumed post four-day Holi break. Speaker Haribhau Bagde said he was rejecting the adjournment notices given by the opposition since the House has to deliberate on supplementary demands. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said there can be no other agenda before the House till the government announces a loan waiver for farmers. The issue of agriculture debt waiver dominated the proceedings of the House last week too. Vikhe Patil read out a letter written last year by Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat to social activist Baba Adhav, who was then on a fast demanding farm loan waiver. He said Bapat, in the letter, said his government was committed to the welfare of farmers and that loan waiver was in interest of cultivators.
Bapat had also said a positive decision will be taken on the issue before March 2017.
The opposition has been seeking a farm loan waiver since December 2015, Vikhe Patil said.
"We don't want mere sympathy for farmers but definitive action," he said, demanding the government bring a 'one line resolution' in the House stating it will grant loan waiver to farmers.
After this, the Speaker adjourned the House for 30 minutes.
Soon after the House reassembled, Vikhe Patil continued to press for the demand, and said this was the appropriate time to announce a debt waiver since more than 8,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last two years.
Supporting the demand, Sena MLAs trooped into the Well of the House and resorted to slogan shouting, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for a second time.
After the proceedings began post adjournment, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis moved a condolence motion for former legislator Chandrakant Deshmukh, who passed away recently. Amid persistent sloganeering, the Speaker rushed through the business, including laying of papers and passing of supplementary demands. Vikhe Patil again demanded the government take a stand on the loan waiver issue, which led to the third adjournment which was for 15 minutes. After the House reassembled, Yogesh Sagar (BJP), who was in the Chair, cleared a clutch of bills amid noisy scenes even as Sena and Congress members climbed atop the Speaker's podium and displayed placards. After the bills were passed without discussion, the Chair adjourned the House for the day. The bills that were passed included Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Maharashtra Municipal Corporation and Municipal Council; Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Townships (Amendment) bill; Maharashtra Village Panchayat and Maharashtra Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti Amendment bill. The Maharashtra Agriculture Land Ceiling (Amendment) bill and Maharashtra State Backward Commission Amendment bill were re-introduced. An amendment in the Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act mandates that no person shall be member of a panchayat if he does not have a toilet at home. A similar provision is already in place for Zilla Parishad members. Earlier in the morning, before the House assembled, Congress and NCP leaders protested outside the Vidhan Bhawan to press for the loan waiver demand.