Mah Oppn to attend customary tea meeting

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Mumbai, Mar 9 (UNI) Deviating from the usual practice of boycotting the customary tea meeting organised by the Chief Minister, prior to the budget session commencing from tomorrow, Shiv Sena-BJP alliance today announced that they would attend this evening's tea meeting and raise the demand of complete loan waiver for the farmers.

''All farmers should have their 'saat bara' document,'' demanded Leader of the Opposition Ramdas Kadam, while talking to reporters here today.

Mr Kadam, accompanied by Leader of the Opposition in council Pandurang Phundkar, state BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Gopinath Munde, Eknath Khadse and others in a joint press conference, announced that apart from loan waiver, the load shedding, law and order situation and price hike issue would be raised.

Mere loan waiver was not sufficient but the farmers should be given loans at the rate of Rs 4, Mr Kadam said, adding that even parameters for loan waiver were wrong as the farmers of western Maharashtra, having irrigated five acre lands, could not be compared with a farmer having more than five acres of rain-fed land.

Former finance minister Eknath Khadse said the government was facing a debt of Rs 1,50,000 crore and demanded that a white paper should be published on the financial situation.

Maharashtra's credit rating was the lowest in the market, he alleged.

Opposing the move to divert the money reserved for employment guarantee scheme (EGS) and others to Krishna Valley Project and even issuing ordinance on EGS, would be taken up in the house.

He said, ''We will raise the privilege motion against the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary for issuing ordinance about EGS, when budget session is to begin in a fortnight.'' He also wondered how the government would raise funds for Rs 25,000 crore planning, which they had approved recently.

Mr Munde said agriculture sector was going down under Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and sugar-sugarcane industry was facing severe losses.

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