Nagpur, Mar 5 (UNI) Maharashtra Government would bear any additional burden, if so directed by the Centre, to provide further succour to distressed farmers in the state, especially in Vidarbha region, Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said today.
Addressing a mammoth farmers' rally, organised by the NCP here, Mr Patil said the state government would 'fulfil any responsibility' that the Centre gave it while increasing the relief to farmers.
Describing as 'historic', the decision to waive loans of farmers holding upto five acres of land, Mr Patil said the state had requested the union government to initiate measures that would benefit more farmers.
The state government would seriously consider granting loan waiver to small artisans like cobblers, ironsmiths and carpenters, living in villages, who also had a debt burden but had not benefited from the waiver for farmers, he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister, who also holds the Home portfolio, said he had given 15 days for all private money lenders to return all goods and land pledged by hapless cultivators to them to get loans.
The police would take strict action against such money lenders afterwards if they did not comply with the instructions, he said.
Admitting that the milch cattle given to farmers under the relief packages had become a 'burden' for the beneficiaries since they did not know where to sell the milk, Mr Patil said it was necessary to train these farmers to help them market the output and earn a profit thereon.
Mr Patil said government would increase the grant under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana and extend concessions to women's self-help groups (SHG's) to provide succour to the downtrodden.
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