Loan waiver only solution to farmers' distress: Phundkar

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Nagpur, Nov 22 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Pandurang Phundkar today said complete loan waiver was the only solution to the distress of farmers in the state, especially Vidarbha region.

Initiating a discussion on the problems of farmers in the House, Mr Phundkar said there was a sense of insecurity among cultivators, as they did not have the facilities like one-time settlement of debt, and incentives, which were available to industrialists. Farmers were forced to commit suicide as the banks lending them money had recovered even five and seven times of the principal amount as interest, he said.

The government had not implemented its announcement of giving loans to farmers at the rate of 6 per cent, Mr Phundkar said, adding that in spite of the special relief package declared by the state government in December 2005 and the Prime Minister in July 2006, suicides by farmers had not stopped.

Mr Phundkar said there had been a rise in the incidents of farmers' suicides since 2001. ''The suicides had increased from 378 in 2001, to 1001 so far this year,'' he added.

UNI

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