Several parts of the state received unseasonal rains recently, leading to extensive damage to crops and distress to farmers
Uddhav Thackeray. File Pic
Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday attacked the Eknath Shinde government and wondered if the crop insurance scheme was a "big scam" because firms had been paid several crore rupees as premium but farmers were not getting benefits, reported news agency PTI.
Several parts of the state received unseasonal rains recently, leading to extensive damage to crops and distress to farmers.
Talking to reporters after meeting farmers in Hingoli district, Uddhav Thackeray said the state government must waive farm loans the way he did when he was CM between 2019 and 2022, reported PTI.
"I wonder if the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is a big scam," Uddhav Thackeray said, reported PTI.
He said after the state government announced crop insurance for farmers for just Re 1, while their premium would be paid by farmers, the number of farmers in the state insuring their crops rose from 90 lakh to 1.75 crore, reported PTI.
"The state government has paid farmers' share of Rs 8,000 crore. In whose pocket did the money go through these insurance companies? This is taxpayers' money," he asked.
Insurance company offices are shut, they don't answer phone calls, they don't listen to the government or face farmers, he alleged, reported PTI.
Uddhav Thackeray sought to know to what extent the claims of farmers had been cleared by insurance companies.
Earlier, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday hit out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde over his visit to neighbouring Telangana for poll campaigning while farmers in his home state suffered crop losses due to unseasonal rains.
Reacting to the criticism, Shinde said the state government has taken cognisance of the losses, and 'those who ran the government through Facebook Live' should not preach to others.
Speaking at a news conference, Thackeray demanded that a cabinet meeting be held immediately to discuss crop losses due to the rains in the last four-five days, and farmers be given assistance at the earliest.
Six people lost lives due to rain-related incidents while 100 cattle also perished, the former chief minister said.
Grape growers and onion farmers in particular were hit hard, he said, asking what did the state cabinet do after the weather department gave an advance warning of unseasonal showers.
Preliminary information suggested that crops over nearly one lakh hectares in Marathwada, Vidarbha and north Maharashtra were affected, Thackeray said.
"There is no government in Maharashtra as everyone is busy campaigning. It is time to change the government," the Sena (UBT) chief added.
"A person who does not bother about his own house and goes to another state to campaign for another party is not fit to run a government and he has no right to be in power," he added.
(With inputs from PTI)