Nagpur: Refusing to accept the state government`s `paltry` Rs.2000 crore aid package, some farmers in Maharashtra`s Vidarbha region have threatened to donate the amount, averaging Rs.1,700 per head, to Maoists active in the state`s eastern districts, an activist said here on Sunday.
The decision was taken Saturday, Dec 17 by nearly 20,000 farmers of five villages in the Arni sub-district of Yavatmal, around 175 kms from here. Yavatmal is notorious for being the country`s worst suicide-hit farmland district.
"The villagers of Bellora, Mangrul, Sakur, Borgosavi and Brahmanwada have formed an action committee and an unanimous decision was taken on the issue. Whenever we get this Rs.1700 aid, we shall donate it to the Maoists," Raju Raut, the committee`s representative from Bellora said.
Several hundred farmers along with their local village representatives took part in the meeting Saturday, where the decision to donate the aid to Maoists was discussed and finalized.
Raut claimed that the villagers decided on the extreme measure since the government`s aid package is too little and too less and is merely a `tokenism` to lure the farmers to withdraw their ongoing month-old agitation, demanding better remuneration for their produce.
Last Wednesday, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, while announcing the Rs.2000 crore package, termed it `historic and the biggest ever aid` for over seven million needy farmers in the regions of Vidarbha, north Maharashtra and Marathwada.
Chavan informed the State Legislature currently in session in Nagpur, that the cotton, soyabean and grain growers needed the aid package most and pointed out that the state government had provided similar aid packages of nearly Rs.600 crore to sugarcane growers in the past two years.
This latest aid package, which followed a Rs.1000-crore package last year, was roundly criticized by opposition parties, farmers groups and NGOs like `Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti` (VJAS).