Nagpur, Nov 22: Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Ramdas Kadam today demanded that the government should announce complete loan waiver for farmers in the state during the ongoing Winter Session of the legislature here itself.
Initiating a discussion on the issue of suicides by indebted farmers, especially in Vidarbha region of the state, the rise in the suicides even after the announcement of two relief packages and the demand for loan waiver from farmers, Mr Kadam said the incumbent Democratic Front government would lose its moral right to remain in power if it did not announce the loan waiver to provide succour to the distressed farmers.
Holding the Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh responsible for the suicide of 1,040 farmers so far this year in Vidarbha, Mr Kadam said that the equipment distributed to cultivators under the state government's relief package was of inferior quality. The bullock carts and pipes were delicate, and the motors of the pumps burned out within 15 minutes of operation, he said. Several farmers had returned the pumps to the government and asked for a refund of their money, Mr Kadam said, and alleged that bullock carts had been given to families that did not even own bullocks.
Mr Kadam demanded a CID probe into the purchase of the material bought for distribution under the package, and said that cows given to farmers were sent to slaughter houses, as those did not yield milk.
The Leader of the Opposition demanded that the names of the defunct spinning mills, especially in Vidarbha, be revealed. These establishments had gobbled up Rs 3,000 crore of public money, including Rs 1,200 crore as loan from the government and Rs 1,800 crore collected as share money from farmers, he alleged.
Earlier, the House witnessed noisy scenes for nearly 50 minutes as the Opposition and Treasury benches debated the rule under which the discussion ought to be held. The Opposition, including Mr Kadam, Gopinath Munde and Eknath Khadse (both BJP), contended that the discussion be held vide an adjournment motion so that they could exercise their right for a poll at the end. ''We want to reveal to the people of this state who in this House is in favour of the farmers and who is against,'' he said. Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar said he was suspending the Question Hour under rule 57 of the proceedings of the House, and was allowing the discussion under rule 101.
The House witnessed noisy scenes as Opposition members, sporting black jackets and caps, raised slogans demanding complete loan waiver and trooped into the well of the House displaying banners.
They also protested the absence of Mr Deshmukh and Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil when the House was discussing a serious issue.
The sloganeering began as soon as the House assembled for business this morning.
Before the proceedings commenced, members of the Opposition, wearing black jackets and caps, marched in a short procession from the office of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena combine's Legislature Party in the Council Hall premises to the steps of the Assembly Hall, and staged demonstrations to demand complete waiver of loans for farmers in the state. The members also raised slogans against the DF government and against its alleged failure to provide succour to the distressed farmers.