BJP threatens state-wide agitation

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Nagpur, June 12 (UNI) The BJP has threatened to launch a state-wide agitation if the government did not alleviate the alleged shortage of fertilisers and seeds in Maharashtra within the next five days.

Speaking to reporters here today, senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the state Legislative Council Pandurang Phundkar said unless the Centre initiated steps on a war footing, the state would have 40 per cent shortage of fertilisers and seeds.

The state government had registered its requirement with the Centre late, which was one reason for the crisis, he said.

The Centre had changed the earlier practice of giving subsidy to fertiliser manufacturing units in cash, and had given it in the form of 10-year bonds, Mr Phundkar said adding the factories had, therefore, reduced their output.

Besides, the Centre had reduced the quantum of the subsidy on the grounds it was writing off Rs 60,000 crore of farmers' loans. If corrective steps were not taken immediately, the farmers, already in distress, would be pushed to the brink and there would be a fresh spate of suicides, Mr Phundkar said adding that the party was already staging protests at the district level against the shortage.

Replying to questions, he said the party would stall the proceedings in both the houses of the Legislature during the monsoon session, beginning in Mumbai on July 16, if the issue was not resolved by that time.

Mr Phundkar said senior BJP leader and former deputy prime minister L K Advani would be on a day's visit to Vidarbha on June 19. Mr Advani was scheduled to release a book and attend a party workers' convention here, he said.

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