Maharashtra: Governor seeks release of funds for rain-hit farmers in three days

Sandeep A Ashar
Bhagat Singh Koshyari will meet NCP, Congress & Sena leaders Saturday.

IN HIS first major decision after the imposition of President’s Rule in Maharashtra, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday directed the state administration to release relief amount to the farmers affected by unseasonal rain within two to three days.

On Friday, former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis called on the Governor, urging him to immediately release funds for affected farmers. The same day, Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena, who are exploring the possibility of coming together to form a government in the state, also sought the Governor’s time for highlighting farmers’ woes. NCP’s national spokesperson Nawab Malik said representatives of the three parties will meet the Governor in this regard on Saturday evening.

NCP president Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray have been visiting villages to interact with affected farmers. Uddhav on Friday toured Sangli and Satara districts in western Maharashtra. Interestingly, he was accompanied by local Congress MLA and state working president Vishwajit Kadam during his tour of Sangli.

Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, meanwhile, demanded that the state administration should declare the rate at which compensation would be provided to the affected farmers without any further delay. Various social and farmer outfits, including Maratha Kranti Morcha and All Indian Kisan Sabha, have also demanded that relief disbursal be expedited.

With unseasonal rain leaving a trail of destruction across Maharashtra, the state administration on Friday pegged the damage to standing crop on 93.89 lakh hectares of farmland across the state. About 1.04 crore farmers have suffered losses.

Before the imposition of the President’s Rule, the Fadnavis government had announced a bulk provision of Rs 10,000 crore for relief to the affected farmers, but officials said that the official panchnamas being conducted to assess the extent of crop damage were slow amid continuing uncertainty over government formation.

Fadnavis, after meeting the Governor, tweeted, “Met Hon Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari ji at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai to request the release of funds to the farmers affected due to unseasonal rains. Hon Governor assured immediate action on this.” He has also sought reopening and smooth functioning of the CM’s Relief Fund through the Governor’s office to ensure timely help for needy persons.

During his first major review meeting since President’s Rule was imposed on the state, Koshyari also directed officials to complete all documentation urgently for the submission of a memorandum of assistance to the Union government.

With the state Assembly in suspended animation, it has been decided to draw amount from the contingency funds from now, while rasing supplementary grants before the Parliament to recoup it later.