Law in offing to prevent money-lenders from grabbing land

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Mumbai, Mar 13 (UNI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today said the government will enact a new law to recover the land grabbed by money-lenders from indebted farmers.

Replying to the discussion on the Governor's address in the state assembly today, Mr Deshmukh said the law would be on the same lines as the one to protect tribal land. Money-lenders, then, will not be able to grab the farmers' land, he said.

The law and judiciary department has been asked to look into the issue, the Chief Minister informed. Mr Deshmukh, meanwhile, urged the farmers to come forward and reveal names of the money-lenders who were resorting to such cruel practices.

The Chief Minister admitted that there has been no reduction in the suicides by debt-ridden farmers. However, he noted that although debts are attributed to be the reasons behind the suicides, there was a need to find out whether this was the real reason or were there other reasons too.

''It is necessary to offer other avenues of earning to the farmers and reduce the burden on agriculture,'' Mr Deshmukh said.

Mr Deshmukh also admitted that the state is facing severe power crunch of around 4500 MW. The state, he said, will become self-reliant in power by 2011-12 by when nearly 7,000 MW additional power would become available. Nearly 2,500 MW of power would become available from non-conventional sources of energy by then, he said.

Recalling the Enron controversy, Mr Deshmukh rued that five years were spent in bringing the power project to the state. But another five years were wasted in throwing it out and yet another five years in reviving it.

Mr Deshmukh said the government is willing to purchase power at the rate of Rs 10 per unit in order to meet its demand.

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