Mumbai: Devendra Fadnavis orders enquiry into farmer's death at JJ hospital

Updated: Jan 30, 2018, 16:29 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Chief Minister orders inquiry into entire episode, wants officials responsible punished, but the damage is done

Dharma Patil had consumed a chemical near the chief minister's office.
Dharma Patil had consumed a chemical near the chief minister's office.

Farmer Dharma Patil's tragic suicide has exposed the insensitive side of the system. With no respite from the previous and current governments, the 84-year-old patriarch had consumed a chemical near the chief minister's office at Mantralaya a week ago. He died at JJ Hospital on Sunday night. The suicide has now become a rallying point for the opposition and ruling partner Shiv Sena, who have demanded the government be prosecuted for the murder of a hapless octogenarian.

In response, the government said the previous regime was unjust to the farmer, and it should be prosecuted for killing him. It said the little compensation given to him had been decided by the NCP-Congress government and the BJP government had offered Patil financial assistance to meet the losses. CM Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an inquiry into the developments that led to Patil's death and punish the government officials responsible. What has come to light are the delay and detachment of the departments related to land acquisition for a thermal power project, for which Patil's farm land was valued by the previous government, but paid for by the BJP government, as per the award decided earlier.

Patil accused the authorities of doing injustice to him, because his neighbouring farmer with a similar land parcel was given more compensation. He said he had a 600-tree mango orchard and other plants on the land which were not considered while deciding the value. Patil had been visiting government offices, including Mantralaya for the past three months. The land in Dhule district was acquired in 2009-10 for a thermal power project which has been scrapped. A solar park is proposed on the land. The state revenue department acquired the land on behalf of state power generation company Mahagenco.

'Compensation in 30 days'
When the farmer's son Narendra told the government that his father got only Rs 4 lakh compensation for his five acres land, he was given assistance of R15 lakh which was rejected. But the offer was made only after Dharma Patil took the extreme step. Dhule guardian minister Jaykumar Rawal said then energy minister Ajit Pawar was responsible for the death. "Who decided that little amount be given to orchard owners? I protested on behalf of farmers as a local MLA then, but I was ignored. And when we came to power, we made all attempts to help Dharma Patil," he said. Interestingly, Rawal too came under heavy attack from the opposition. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik accused the minister of being part of land mafia that profits from dealing with farmers' land.

BJP govt responsible: Sena
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut demanded a case of culpable homicide against the government. "This isn't suicide, but murder and the government is responsible," said Raut. Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said, "Only this government is to be blamed for the farmer's death." Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the farmer died due to the government's apathy and anti-farmer policies.

5 Number of acres land owned by Dharma Patil for which he was paid Rs 4 lakh

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