Parliament’s Winter Session has gotten off to a stormy start as the Opposition looked to corner the government over the situation in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena leaders held protest near the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Parliament premises, demanding the government to declare unseasonal rains in Maharashtra as natural calamity.
This is a day after the Maharahstra Governor announced a financial relief for nearly one crore farmers affected by unseasonal rains. In his first major decision after imposition of President’s Rule in the State, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday said that the aid works out to approximately ₹8,000 per hectare up to two hectare for agricultural kharif crops and a relief of ₹18,000 per hectare up to two hectares for horticulture or perennial crops.
On November 2, the Devendra Fadnavis led governmnet had approved Rs 10,000 crore immediate relief to the farmers and fishermen in Maharashtra, who have suffered crop losses and property damage due to untimely rains. The decision was taken by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee then.
In addition to the said relief package, the Governor has also announced exemption of land revenue to the affected area and exemption of examination fee of school and colleges to the wards of farmers whose crops have been damaged. “The additional money will have to be sought from the Centre in the form of an Appropriation Bill to be passed by Parliament in the upcoming winter session”, the statement read.
Earlier this week, a section of farmers had held protests against the Governor, demanding speedy disbursal of compensation. The assessment of the damage took time due to the model code for conduct of elections being in place for the Assembly elections. Meanwhile, the members of Parliament from Shiv Sena walked out of Lok Sabha over persisting farmers’ distress in Maharashtra.
In better than expected show in the recent assembly polls, BJP’s break in ties with Shiv Sena and reports of economic slowdown have put wind in the sails of opposition parties. The 18 Sena MPs in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha have now been allotted seats in the opposition rows after the party severed ties with its longtime ally BJP and is in talks with the Congress-NCP alliance to form government in Maharashtra.