Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Call to cover all dry-land farmers in farm loan waiver-TIMES OF INDIA

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Call to cover all dry-land farmers in farm loan waiver

TNN | Jun 7, 2017, 12.01 PM IST
TNN | Jun 7, 2017, 12.01 PM IST
NAGPUR: As farmers' strike reached sixth day, Kishore Tiwari, an activist who is now heading state government's Vasantrao Naik Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM), has demanded that the farmers who have made regular repayments should also be covered in the proposed waiver scheme.

On third day of the strike, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a waiver plan for small and medium farmers who have overdue loans. 

A strong champion of loan waiver during his days as activist, Tiwari was appointed as chief of VNSSM, a government's task force on agriculture after BJP came into power in the state.

Tiwari told TOI that, in a recent communication to state government, he has demanded that even standard loan accounts should be covered, if a waiver is announced. Farmers normally repay their crop loans by May end in order to get fresh credit by June. So if a farmer has repaid last season's debt and now has a new loan, even such accounts should be covered for waiver. This means even fresh loans taken recently which can be repaid in normal course by next May should be included in the waiver plan, said Tiwari.

Tiwari also admitted that farmers are holding up repayments hoping for a waiver scheme. This has also hit disbursal of crop loans for the current season.

Till now hardly 10% of the target for granting crop loans worth Rs22,000 crore in 14 distress hit districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada has been met, he said. Unless the old loans are cleared fresh lending is not possible. The earlier loans are not being repaid as farmers are waiting for a waiver. 

Meanwhile on Tuesday, districts like Amravati, Buldhana, and Washim of west Vidarbha remained to be affected due to the strike. Representatives of organizations which have called the strike will be holding a meeting on June 8 to decide on further strategy of the agitation. Till then protests will continue.

There were reports shortage of milk and vegetables in these districts. In Amravati the rates of vegetables have shot up by over 40% in the last two days and milk is also in short supply. Buldhana and Washim have been spared from shortage of milk, but there has been a sharp increase in vegetable prices.

In east, Wardha witnessed an increase in vegetable prices though supplies remained normal. Nagpur remained normal along with other districts like Chandrapur, and Bhandara, and Gondia. Though there has been a hike in vegetable rates in city, a section of traders say it is happening in the normal course with little impact of the strike.

Activists of outfits organizing the strike staged protests by locking the Tehsil offices in different parts of the region. "We had locked the office at Mouda, other groups have also carried out similar activities," said Prashant Pawar of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan one of the organizations backing the strike.

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