PM, CMs meet on loan waiver to farmers on Nov 27

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Nagpur, Nov 23 (UNI) Asserting that it was not possible for the state government to bear the burden of complete loan waiver to farmers, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has told the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had convened a meeting in this regard with the Chief Ministers of several states in New Delhi on November 27.

However, not satisfied with the Chief Minister's reply, the entire opposition staged a walkout in protest.

Replying to a marathon 10-hour-long discussion on the demand for loan waiver to farmers in the state, especially in Vidarbha region, in the House late last night, Mr Deshmukh said yesterday that a decision on the issue was likely to be made shortly after Tuesday's meeting in New Delhi.

''The state government is ready to fulfil its obligation as per the decision that would be made by the Centre. Our stand is not to let go of any financial assistance that the Centre might announce for the purpose. Therefore, we do not want to make any announcement in a hurry, lest the Centre holds the state ineligible for any assistance,'' he said.

Even Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar had already given sufficient indication in this regard, he said the opposition should, therefore, not insist on the announcement of complete loan waiver.

Earlier, cutting across party lines, members from both sides of the House expressed concern and anguish at the distress of farmers in the state, especially Vidarbha region. More than 50 members participated in the discussion, initiated by Leader of the Opposition Ramdas Kadam earlier yesterday, and most of them demanded loan waiver for farmers.

Mr Kadam and the others had sought to move an adjournment motion on the issue, but Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar had allowed their notice vide rule 57 and suspended the agenda for the day to allow the discussion under rule 101.

UNI

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