Come to Mumbai, Uddhav tells distressed farmers

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Nagpur, Aug 5 (UNI) Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray has called upon distressed farmers in Maharashtra to come to Mumbai to earn a livelihood.

Speaking to reporters here today, Mr Thackeray said the farmers should not let the severe agrarian crisis, that they were going through at present, to depress or discourage them.

''Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra, and every resident of the state has a right to come there in a crisis. The farmers should exercise this right,'' he said adding the Sena would help farmers in every way it could.

Asked if the suggestion was practical, Mr Thackeray asserted it was, because Mumbai was home to millions. ''People have come to the metropolis from all parts of the country to make a living. Then why not farmers from the state?'', the Shiv Sena Executive President said.

Mr Thackeray demanded a compensation of Rs 10,000 per hectare for farmers, who had suffered losses after the first sowing because of the lull in rains. The lack of rains had forced farmers to repeat the sowing, at some places even twice, he said and expressed hope that the present spell of rains would result in a bumper crop.

Asserting that the loan waiver for farmers, announced by the Centre had not benefited many, Mr Thackeray alleged the government had not even paid the compensation promised to a farmer on whose land a helipad was constructed for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to land during his visit to Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in 2006.

''The farmer was promised Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation, but has not received even a dime till date. We have given him Rs 51,000 as a token,'' he said.

Although he described the recent visit of All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Rahul Gandhi to Vidarbha as a welcome effort, Mr Thackeray said it had not helped farmers in the region in any way. ''If such visits really help, then Mr Gandhi should set up home here,'' he quipped.


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