Uddhav camp approached the Supreme Court which refused to stay the Election Commission’s order. (File photo: PTI)
The opposition, however, staged a walkout, demanding Rs 500-700 per quintal as subsidy for onion farmers. They raised slogans, calling the government “anti-farmer”
With prices of onions in the wholesale markets falling each day, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 300 per quintal to the farmers.
Speaking in the assembly, Shinde said, “Onion farmers will get some relief from this subsidy as there is a high yield of red kharif onions not only in Maharashtra, but also in other states.”
The state had appointed a committee to study the issue and make recommendations to solve it. The committee suggested a payment of Rs 200-300 per quintal.
The opposition, however, staged a walkout, demanding Rs 500-700 per quintal as subsidy for onion farmers. They raised slogans, calling the government “anti-farmer”.
From day one of the budget session, the united opposition has been targeting the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
Shinde said, “Our government always stands with farmers, which is why we have decided to give them Rs 300 subsidy.”
The opposition feels the amount is not sufficient and will not be help marginal farmers. While CM Shinde assured the house that onion would be procured with the help of NAFED, the opposition claimed it wasn’t happening.
When News18 did a ground report on the issue in Nasik district, we found that NAFED had appointed private companies to purchase onions from farmers.
AGRI MIN’s REMARK
The opposition also slammed state agriculture minister Abdul Sattar for his insensitive remark. Sattar had said: “Farmers’ suicide is not a new issue as they are doing it since long.” He was touring Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar district, where untimely rain destroyed the crops, when he made the remark.
Meanwhile, 10,000 angry farmers, under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha, have started a long march from Nashik to Mumbai with 17 demands. Their primary demand is a rate of Rs 2,000 per quintal for onions and Rs 600 per quintal for subsidies. A few weeks ago, prices in the Lasalgaon Onion Market — Asia’s biggest onion market — fell so low that farmers were offered Rs 2-3 per kg.
In a tough situation, farmer Krishna Dongre set his entire produce on fire as he couldn’t recover the cost invested in the onion produce. Farmers like Dongre are of the opinion that the government should fix the minimum support price (MSP) and give Rs 1,000-2,000 as subsidy.
The recent untimely rain has also damaged the crops. So far, the state has ordered panchnamas, but no immediate help has been announced.
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