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Tuesday,25-January-2022

Maharashtra

Shiv Sena seeks PM’s intervention to stop farmers’ suicides

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Kishore Tiwari.

With an average of 5 farmland suicides reported in Maharashtra daily, a senior Shiv Sena leader on Friday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgent personal intervention to crack the whip and direct public sector and commercial banks to immediately extend crop loans to the farmers.

In a representation to the PM, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM) President Kishore Tiwari said that monsoon is on in full swing and distressed farmers are in dire need of crop loans to ensure their survival till next year.

“Shockingly, the Centre has not yet issued orders to the public sector banks via Reserve Bank of India or NABARD to sanction the loans of those farmers who figure in the state government’s list of loan waiver beneficiaries,” Tiwari told IANS.

“While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has repeatedly appealed for bank finance to all farmers, all public, private and other commercial banks continue to ignore the request. Hence, today more farmers are committing suicide than the Covid-19 deaths in rural parts of the state,” Tiwari said.

The CM is also the Chairman of the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) which is empowered to address the farmland crises, but unfortunately, since March there have been 1,860 farmers suicides compared to 1,100 Covid-19 deaths in (rural) Maharashtra, he said.

Tiwari urged the PM and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to immediately instruct the RBI and NABARD to order all banks to take up the reconstruction of pending crop loans and start disbursing fresh loans, particularly for the dying farmers in the worst-hit Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

“As per the Union Budget, the state’s share is Rs 1.20 lakh crore as agriculture-outlet target, but at the current rate and speed of disbursals, only 25 percent of this (target) will be achieved for 2020-2021,” said Tiwari.

Citing other issues, he said previously the district cooperative banks share in the total loan disbursements was upto 70 percent which has now been reduced to only 30 percent, while the responsibility of 70 percent has been given to the public sector banks by the Centre.

Of the estimated 80 percent of the total loan amount of Rs 40,000 crore that was due to be disbursed by July (2020) for the current monsoon, barely Rs 4,000 crore, or about 10 percent has been actually given, he said.

Under the state’s ambitious Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karj Mukti Yojana (MJPSKMY), there were plans to make around 30 lakh farmers totally debt-free this year, said Tiwari, who is also Advisor to the Chief Minister.

Though a list of 19 lakh farmer beneficiaries was announced in March, so far hardly around 9 lakh farmers have benefited. Later, attention was diverted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Under the MJPSKMY alone, Rs 19,000 crore was expected to be disbursed, but owing to the banks’ sheer non-cooperation, barely Rs 11,000 crore has actually reached 9 lakh farmers till date. Now the monsoon has begun all over,” he said.

Instead of giving fresh loans, now these banks are resorting to alleged illegalities like deducting the crop loan amount from the crop insurance compensation given to the farmers which could attract criminal action right down to the banks’ branch manager levels, Tiwari warned.

“We urge the Centre to order banks to comply with the state government’s request on top priority, failing which criminal action should be taken against the banks and their officers, with the RBI-NABARD mandated for further action. Any further delays and the farmers stand to lose the opportunity of a good monsoon expected this year,” Tiwari pointed out.

Since there are similar complaints from other states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, the VNSSM head said that the PM or FM should authorise the CM of the respective states to take to task all such errant banks and their officers.

Maharashtra

Can reduce Juhi Chawla’s 5G suit fine, but on one condition: Delhi HC

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said it will consider reducing actress-environmentalist Juhi Chawla’s fine – slapped for abuse of the process of law in relation to a lawsuit challenging 5G wireless network technology – from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 lakh on the condition she does some service for the public.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said: “We will make it Rs 2 lakh but that comes with another condition. Considering that your client is a celebrity, she should do some public work. Her status should be implied for some good of society. She could do a programme for the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA).”

Representing Chawla, senior advocate Salman Khurshid, argued that the petitioner had raised a genuine concern on the impact of 5G technology on the human body. If the cost amount could be waived, his client could go back to pursue the cause, he said.

Later, he said he would seek her instructions on the suggestion made by the court.

Further, issuing notice to the DLSA Secretary, the court listed the case for further hearing on January 27.

On January 21, the DSLSA approached the court seeking the execution of the order, in which Chawla and two others were directed to deposit Rs 20 lakh fine imposed in relation to a lawsuit challenging 5G wireless network technology.

On June 4 last year, Justice J.R. Midha had dismissed her lawsuit against the setting up of 5G wireless networks in the country. Her plea stated the levels of RF radiation are 10 to 100 times greater than the existing levels. It also claimed that the 5G wireless technology can be a potential threat to provoke irreversible and serious effects on humans and it could also permanently damage the earth’s ecosystems.

The court had held that the suit filed by Chawla and two others were defective, non-maintainable, and also contained unverified and vexatious assertions and also imposed the fine.

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Maharashtra

Maha BJP MLA Nitesh Rane moves SC for anticipatory bail

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BJP’s Maharashta MLA Nitesh Rane, the son of Union Minister Narayan Rane, has moved the Supreme Court, seeking anticipatory bail in an attempt to murder lodged against him in Sindhudurg district last month.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Rane, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, submitting that the matter is a result of political rivalry. After hearing brief submissions, the bench agreed to consider the request to list the matter urgently.

Rane has challenged the January 17 order of the Bombay High Court, declining to entertain his plea seeking anticipatory bail, before the top court. The matter is connected with a road rage incident, which occurred in December last year. The complainant alleged that his motorcycle was hit by a car without a number plate and claimed he heard one of the occupants say “should inform Gotya Sawant and Nitesh Rane”.

The Maharashtra Police had given an oral assurance before the high court that Rane would not be arrested till Monday. However, Nitish claimed the case was registered to stop him from participating in the Sindhudurg District Co-operative Bank elections.

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Maharashtra

PM condoles loss of lives in Maha accident

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed deep grief over the loss of lives due to an accident near Selsura in Maharashtra. The Prime Minister has also announced an ex-gratia from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the victims.

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted, “Pained by the loss of lives due to an accident near Selsura in Maharashtra. In this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. I pray that those injured are able to recover soon: PM.”

In another tweet, the PMO said, “PM @narendramodi announced that Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives in the accident near Selsura. Those who are injured would be given Rs. 50,000.”

At least seven medical students, including the son of a BJP legislator, were killed in a major road accident on the highway in Wardha district of Maharashtra early on Tuesday.

According to a police official, the accident took place when they were travelling in an SUV from Yavatmal to Wardha. At one stretch as the SUV sped on a bridge near Selsura, the driver lost control over the vehicle and it plunged into the river below. All the victims were students of the Sangavi Medical College.

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