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Thursday 15 December 2011

Rs2000 crore package for Vidarbha farmers unveiled

Rs2000 crore package for Vidarbha farmers unveiled

Published: Thursday, Dec 15, 2011, 8:00 IST
By Amberish K Diwanji | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Bowing to pressure from the opposition, the government has announced a package of Rs2,000 crore to the farmers of cotton, soya, and paddy in the regions of Vidarbha (eastern Maharashtra), Marathwada (southeastern Maharashtra) and Khandesh (northern Maharashtra).
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who announced the package in the council and later in the assembly, said that distribution details would be decided in a few days' time, and a government resolution (GR) to the effect would be issued before the legislature's winter session in Nagpur ended, on December 23.
However, he said, the payment to the cotton farmers would be on a per-hectare basis only. "Most farmers have sold 50% of their cotton stock, so it is not possible to provide them relief on a per quintal basis," he added.

He pointed out that this was the highest amount ever to be given to farmers in the history of the state, and perhaps the highest aid ever to farmers in India. Last year, following unseasonal rains, the state had agreed to an aid package of Rs1,000 crore for the farmers of the state, and the final amount spent was Rs1,700 crore. But that was for the entire state, whereas the latest package is for just three regions.
In response, opposition members later said the package was too small, and that the government should have announced a package of at least Rs10,000 crore. The Shiv Sena said it would go ahead with its planned 'bandh' to be held in Vidarbha, Marathwada, and Khandesh. The general strike has the support of its ally, the BJP, while the MNS too has announced its backing.
The chief minister's statement came at the end of what has been a tumultuous start to the start of the winter session. The assembly, which was adjourned on Monday and Tuesday due to continuous agitation by the opposition, finally met and different members spoke about the plight of the cotton farmers.

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