Nagpur, Nov 26 (UNI) Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar today asked the government to give an indication of what it intended to do about the demand for complete loan waiver for the distressed farmers in the state, especially in Vidarbha region, before the ongoing winter session ends here.
''The government should give at least an indication about the demand for loan waiver before this session ends, because it is a matter of grave concern for all of us - the opposition, the treasury benches, those in the government and even me personally, because we are all people's representatives first. Make some announcement in this session - it is my request to the government,'' Mr Kupekar said after Leader of the Opposition Ramdas Kadam sought to raise the issue through an adjournment motion as soon as the House assembled for the day this morning.
''A meeting of chief ministers of several states is scheduled to be held in New Delhi on November 27 to discuss the issue. The Union Minister for Agriculture has indicated that the loans of marginal farmers would be waived. I understand that the State government itself is examining the quantum of burden that it would have to bear if it were to grant loan waiver,'' the Speaker said.
''Efforts must be made to identify the root cause behind the suicidal mentality among farmers in Vidarbha. Maharashtra had a very good reputation in the country, but the issue of farmers' suicide has made everybody hang their heads in shame,'' he said.
Earlier, Mr Kadam said he now felt embarrassed to raise the issue of farmers' suicides in the House every day through notices vide rules 57 and 97. ''The government must initiate concrete action to solve the problems of farmers, failing which cultivators will not allow us to come to Nagpur for the session,'' he said.
Mr Kadam requested the Speaker to give directives to the government to announce loan waiver for farmers forthwith. The opposition would stall the proceedings of the House if the government did not make the announcement, he said. Maharashtra already had a debt burden of Rs 1,47,000 crore, and loan waiver would add another Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore to it, he added.