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Speaker directs Mah Govt to announce package for onion growers

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Apr 4: Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar today directed the Government to announce a financial package for onion growers by tomorrow evening.

The directives came when Agriculture Marketing Minister Harshvardhan Patil said that the Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was in Delhi for official work and was likely to discuss the issue with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar about the likely financial burden to be shared by the Centre and the state.

Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said the issue would be discussed in the next Cabinet Meeting before a formal announcement is made.

He said the Government is in favour of taking a decision in the interests of the onion growers and not middlemen.

To which, Mr Kupekar said the Government has taken enough time to conduct a study before announcing a package for cotton growers, and directed the Government to announce its package by tommorrow evening.

There was a brief uproar from the opposition benches when Mr Patil said he was about to inform the House that the Government would make a statement by tomorrow evening. Opposition members demanded the minister should withdraw the statement accusing him of trying to take away credit from the chair.

The issue was raised by Swatantra Bharat Paksha's Wamanrao Chatap, who moved an adjournment notice when the Speaker called for the Question hour. Mr Chatap said yesterday a 19-year-old onion grower had committed suicide.

''This is a public interest issue and calls for Government's urgent attention in view of the falling prices of onions. The matter needs to be debated,'' he said.

Mr Chatap said the onion prices were too low between January and March and demanded fixed price of Rs 100-150 per quintal for the same, besides additional railway wagons for transport and export subsidy.


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