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Centre’s Rs400 crore for farmers in Maharashtra is pittance: Opposition

The state government had assessed the damage due to unseasonal rains at Rs5,996 crore, which includes damage to kharif crops, grape and pomegranate orchards and roads.

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Surendra Gangan

Updated: Dec 26, 2010, 01:01 AM IST

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While there are those in the Congress who may have rushed to call the Centre’s advance release of assistance, to the tune of Rs400 crore, to the state government from the national disaster relief fund as a Christmas gift, it can do little to bring relief to the family of Vinod Ravaji Shelar, 40, a grape grower from Yesgaon, in Malegaon, who killed himself on Wednesday night. Or the families of the other three farmers who have killed themselves in the last 12 days.

Despite that, predictably, the Congress has nice words for the Centre’s largesse. CM Prithviraj Chavan told DNA, “The Centre has been very supportive and positive. I’m hopeful that further assistance will be considered after the assessment and survey is completed.”

The opposition, of course, is singing another tune. Girish Bapat of the BJP said, “We had asked for financial assistance of over Rs25,000-50,000 per hectare, but what has been given is just a pittance,” and added, “The assistance from the state and Centre together works out to only Rs1,600 crore. This is not even half of the Rs4,000 crore we have demanded to take care of the losses which will get compounded over the next five years at least.” He said the state should ask for another Rs1,000 crore in assistance.

The state government had assessed the damage due to unseasonal rains at Rs5,996 crore, which includes damage to kharif crops, grape and pomegranate orchards and roads.

The aid was announced by the Centre on Friday after an all-party delegation from Maharashtra, led by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, met prime minister Manmohan Singh to apprise him of how 11.46 lakh hectares of standing crop were damaged, affecting nearly 29 lakh farmers.

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