Maharashtra govt announces loan waiver for farmers

"He also said anyone now buying farmers" produce below MSP at agri markets will face legal action. Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the procuring of farm produce below support price will be treated as a crime in the state.

Madhya Pradesh is the only state in the country where farmers get interest-free loans and are charged less rate of interest on money given for buying seeds and fertilisers, he said.

The CM began his "indefinite" fasting to end the violence that has rocked parts of the state, especially Mandsaur, following protests by farmers.

While on fast at the Dussehra maidan, the CM appealed to farmers to come and discuss their problems with him at the maidan. "New farmer leaders like Shiv Kumar Sharma alias Kakkaji, an ex-RSS man, are coming up and so we have been asked to reach out to all farmers at the local level, take them into confidence so that all their grievances are channeled through us", he said.

Senior Congress leader and former MP Meenakshi Natarajan denied the allegation that the Congress provoked the farmers to resort to violence.

Meanwhile, Chouhan started his indefinite fast at BHEL's Dussehra Maidan here on Saturday till peace is restored in the state.

BJP's state unit president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan claimed the family members of those killed in Tuesday's police firing had on Saturday met Chouhan and requested him to call off his fast. "They are our own". The curfew will remain in Pipliamandi police station area which is 15 km from Mandsaur district headquarters and where five farmers were killed in separate police firings during the agitation.

The nature of these protests is very different from the recent protest by farmers in Tamil Nadu who witnessed the most severe drought of the century a year ago.

The Chief Minister said his government had already implemented numerous M.S. Swaminathan Committee recommendations. Media reports say he is also believed to be mulling a waiver of farm loans, which could benefit more than six lakh farmers at a cost of around 2,000 crore to the taxpayer. Chouhan started his fast on Saturday in the wake of violence that marred the farmers' protest strike from June 1, launched to press their demand for a debt waiver and better prices for farm produce. A day after Mandsaur firing, the protesters had also allegedly set ablaze four passenger buses and a dozen other vehicles in Newri Phata in Dewas district on the highway.

  • Arturo Norris