Pawar attacks Maha govt for ignoring farmers interest
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday hit out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over low onion prices in Nashik district, accusing him and his government of not being concerned about farmers' "loot". Those talking about adopting Nashik were not concerned about local farmers' woes, he said. Ahead of the Nashik Municipal Corporation polls last year, Fadnavis had said he would "adopt" the city if the voters reposed faith in the BJP.
Pawar was speaking at an event in Mumbai Friday where former state legislator from Nashik, Apurva Hiray, returned to the NCP fold after quitting the BJP. Referring to a comment made by senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal at the function, Pawar said, "Bhujbal talked about onions being sold at 50 -51 paise per kg. "This is our (farmers') loot. And those who talked about adopting the district (Fadnavis) are not concerned despite this loot," he said.
When he read about the chief minister's comment, he was "surprised", Pawar said. "Our forefathers are there to take care of us. We don't need someone from outside to adopt us...The farmer community is our real father," he added. Noting that in the past onions from Nashik were exported to countries such as Sri Lanka, the former union agriculture minister alleged that policies of the BJP-led government were responsible for the present situation.
An onion-grower from Nashik who had to sell his produce for as little as Rs 1.5 per kg sent his earnings of Rs 1,064 to the Prime Minister's Office recently. Another farmer from the district said Friday that he sent Rs 216 to chief minister Fadnavis after selling his onions at a rate of Rs 51 paise per kg. Pawar also accused the Centre and the state government of not paying enough attention to the drought-like situation in Maharashtra. "Livestock is in trouble, so are people.
Our mothers and sisters are compelled to walk miles to fetch water. Unfortunately, the governments are not paying attention to the problem," he said. The UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh offered monetary assistance within two or three days whenever drought-like conditions arose, the NCP chief said. "But no such decision-making can be seen now," he said. A central government's team recently visited areas in the state where the drought-like situation is prevailing.
(With inputs from agencies.)