Amravati awaits fund disbursal to make farmers debt-free

No money has so far been disbursed from the district treasury to the money-lenders

Mumbai: The Amravati district, infamous for high number of farmers' suicides, is awaiting disbursal of funds allocated by Maharashtra government under a scheme to make those farmers debt-free who have taken loans from private money lenders.

In Aurangabad district too, that has recorded second highest number of farmers' suicides, the government has distributed a meagre Rs 1.32 crore to private money-lenders under the scheme, official sources said.

State Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse has said he would try to find out why the money allocated has not been disbursed.

"The highest Rs 6.71 crore has been approved for Amravati district to benefit 3,500 farmers who have taken loan from 349 approved private money-lenders," a state agriculture department official said.

However, no money has so far been disbursed from the district treasury to the money-lenders, he said. Till October end, Rs 1.32 crore has been disbursed to 10 private money-lenders in Aurangabad district which has only benefited 716 farmers, the official said.

State Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said he will1 look into why the approved amount was not disbursed to the private money-lenders.

"We are committed to free farmers of the debt they have after taking loans from private money-lenders and we have approved over Rs 150 crore for the purpose," Khadse said. Kishor Tiwari, the chief of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swawlamban Mission, formed to help distressed farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, said the stringent criteria to select money-lenders and farmers are behind the failure of the scheme.

"The criteria is that both money-lenders and farmers who want to gain benefit of the scheme should be from same taluka which is not fulfilled in several cases. Thus, farmers are deprived of the scheme," Tiwari said.

The negative tendency of the government employees is another reason behind the failure of the scheme, he alleged.

( Source : PTI )
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