Give waiver up to 15 acres in 6 worst affected districts: Rau

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Nagpur, Mar 1 (UNI) Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) President Prabha Rau today said the government should grant loan waiver to farmers holding upto 15 acres of land at least in the six districts worst affected by farmers' suicides in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

Speaking to mediapersons here, Ms Rau said the outstanding debts of farmers in Vidarbha were of low amount because the loans given depended upon the kind of crop taken. As a result, the benefit of the waiver announced by Union Minister for Finance P Chidambaram yesterday would be of lower amounts for farmers in the region as compared to other parts of the state, she said.

The present criterion of granting loan waiver to small and marginal farmers, holding up to two hectares of land, should be amended at least for the six districts of Buldhana, Akola, Yavatmal, Washim, Amravati and Wardha, which had seen the maximum number of suicides, Ms Rau said, adding that 'small farmer' should mean one who has low income because of the crop that he took.

A large number of suicides could have been prevented if the loan waiver had been given earlier, the MPCC President said. The credit of the measure goes to the Congress, because party President Sonia Gandhi is the Chairman of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which is in power at the Centre, and the government is headed as Prime Minister by Dr Manmohan Singh, who belongs to the Congress, she said.

Replying to a question, Ms Rau said the Congress would create block-level mechanism to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the two relief packages announced by the Centre and the state governments for the distressed farmers in six districts of Vidarbha.

The MPCC would shortly submit a memorandum to the state government on reports that the material and cattle supplied under the packages were of inferior quality, she added.

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