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Maharashtra hailstorm a national calamity, says Chavan

Prithviraj Chavan

Describing the loss to life, property and crop arising out of the recent hailstorm which lashed Maharashtra, as a “true national calamity
Prithviraj Chavan

Mumbai: Describing the loss to life, property and crop arising out of the recent hailstorm which lashed Maharashtra, as a “true national calamity”, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the government would provide the maximum possible relief to affected farmers.

“This is a true national calamity,” the Chief Minister told reporters, adding the issue should not be seen from a political perspective but with the objective of helping farmers in distress.

“In the neighbouring state (MP), where the CM belongs to BJP, there was damage (to crop) due to the hailstorm,” he said.

Chavan’s statement comes following a similar demand by state BJP to declare the Maharashtra hailstorm as a national calamity to facilitate help from Centre.

“I met the PM recently and sought relief of around Rs 5,000 crore relief from the Centre,” Chavan said.

Chavan’s comments are in contrast to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s reported comments in a TV interview, where he claimed this was not a national calamity.

“Entire India is not affected by unseasonal rains. The current situation can’t be called a national calamity. Unseasonal rains, calamities do happen. The farmers have to show courage,” CNN-IBN claimed Pawar as saying in the interview.

“They (farmers) have to show courage. Because, suppose they commit suicide, they are going to create further problem for their family,” Pawar had said, responding to reports of several farmers in the hailstorm-affected areas ending their lives for want of official assistance.

Stating that hailstorm affected farmers would be given all possible help from the government, Chavan said he had met the Chief Election Commissioner in Delhi in this regard as the Model Code of Conduct is in place.

“A meeting of Group of Ministers (GoM) of the Union Government was held in New Delhi today, after which the state cabinet, at its meeting here this evening will discuss the issue of providing relief to hailstorm affected farmers,” Chavan said.

Pawar is heading the GoM appointed to decide on the compensation for hailstorm affected farmers, he said.

Chavan had earlier appealed to farmers not to take any “untoward decision” and assured that government would go all out to help them to come out of the distress.

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