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BJP focusses on farmers' plight

Written by: Staff
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Nashik, Mar 4 (UNI) Flaying the Congress-NCP coalition government in Maharahstra for the grave power crisis bedevilling the State, BJP today focussed the party agenda on the plight of farmers, saying the acute shortage of electricity will worsen their condition.

The issue was discussed intensely by the party state leaders on the first day of its two-day executive meet which began here today, the BJP sources said, adding party national vice-president Bal Apte was the central observor at the meeting presided over state president Nitin Gadkari.

Expressing concern over what they claimed to be 14-16 power cut in Maharashtra, the conclave feared that farmers, deprived of irrigation facilities because of it, would be driven to committing suicide, adding 1200 of them had already ended their lives in the state so far.

The party charged the ruling coalition with rescinding pre-election promise of free electricity to farmers and a minimum support price of Rs 2,700 per quintal for cotton, adding the government continued to be '' indiferent '' to the plight of farmers which is bound to worsen with heavy load-shedding.

Maharashtra is facing a peak shortage of over 4,000 Mw of power since the last summer.

While holding Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his deputy R R Patil responsible for failing to take effective measures to help the beleagured farming community, the BJP also criticised Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar for not providing succuor to the peasants. ''When farmers can be compensated in Andhra Pradesh by the Central government what prevented Mr Pawar from mobilising similar help for the suffering farmers in Maharashtra, the state which elected him to the Lok Sabha.'' The conclave demanded agricultural loans at 6 per cent interest and a compensation of Rs two lakh each for a farming family hit by suicide.

State former Home Minister Gopinath Munde, MPs and MLAs from the State were among about 400 leaders who are attending the meeting, party local MLA Eknath Khadse said.

UNI AKS-SA RR PM2118

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