Mumbai/Nagpur: Opposition Congress today demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse for submitting “false information” to Centre on the number of farmers having killed themselves owing to unseasonal rains and hailstorm in the state.
“Between January and March, 622 farmers had committed suicide including 448 in Vidarbha region, which is the highest. The state government has not provided any relief to the farmers who have suffered crop loss due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm but provided false information to the Centre that only three farmers had committed suicide,” said the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
Khadse had earlier this week said there were only three cases of suicides by farmers due to the natural disasters while the total number of farmers who committed suicide was 601 this year.
Demanding resignation of Khadse, who also holds portfolio of Relief and Rehabilitation, Vikhe Patil said the government only created a public perception that it is with farmers in their time of despair.
The BJP-led NDA government in Maharashtra has been facing flak for stating in a report to the Centre that only three farmers committed suicide in the state following the hailstorm and unseasonal rains in the last few weeks, with Congress and NCP slamming the government for being “insensitive” and “under-reporting” facts.
“Eleven days have passed since the Budget session of the state Legislature ended. However, there is no clarity yet on the promises made by government on floor of the House like bonus for paddy and cotton growers and FRP (fair and remunerative price) for sugarcane growers,” Vikhe Patil told reporters at a press conference here.
The Congress leader also hit out at the government over recent transfer of IPS officers in which police commissioner of Nagpur, home town of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, was shifted to Pune on promotion.
“What message the Chief Minister is trying to convey? Nagpur police chief K K Pathak was held responsible for rising incidents of crime, but (at the same time) he has been shifted to Pune on promotion. Pune has already seen two terror attacks…The state DGP is the most inefficient (officer),” Vikhe Patil said alleging that upright police officials were sidelined in the transfer and reshuffle.
Referring to the scrapping of the draft Mumbai Development Plan (DP) 2034 by the government, he said, “What could be the motive of the Sena-BJP in doing so. On whose initiative was the DP prepared in the first place? Was there a move to ensure regularisation of the construction activity in Mumbai’s green belt?”
“In the Legislative Assembly, Fadnavis had just mentioned that the committee headed by Chief Secretary would examine the DP and the loopholes which have come to light. There was no mention that the DP could be scrapped,” he further said.