Mumbai: Maharashtra government on Friday said that it had decided to waive the loans taken by farmers from private money-lenders.
"We have been late in waiving these loans due to various reasons. But we have now decided that the money taken, not only by farmers directly but also in the name of their wives, sons, unmarried daughters, brothers and sisters will be waived; provided they do not have a family member holding a government job," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced in the Legislative Council here.
"Around 2-2.5 lakh farmers would benefit from this," he said.
Fadnavis said the government had installed 10,000 solar water pumps on a pilot basis, and based on the feedback, it aimed to install five lakh such pumps.
He also assured that interests of Marathi speakers would be safeguarded by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).
"I can assure the House that as long as there is BJP-Shiv Sena rule in the MCGM, Marathi-speaking people and those who live in slums will be taken care of. Do not get panicky. The government will ensure that green spaces are saved. Even if the MCGM leaves out something, the state will take care of it," he said.
Defending the decision to scrap the River Regulation Zone (RRZ) policy, under which industrial development was not allowed in the area within two kms of the riverbank, he said most river pollution was caused by the municipal discharge.
"Many people have expressed reservations about the government's decision to scrap it. About 90 per cent of river pollution is caused by municipal discharge and five per cent by the industry. Also, the RRZ policy contravenes the Centre's environmental policy, so it had to be scrapped," he said.
Location clearance, environmental clearance, consent to establish and consent to operate will still be required to set up industry near the riverbank under the Central policy, he said.
The Chief Minister also said that the state was committed to build the world's largest statue of King Shivaji in the Arabian sea off Mumbai, while process was on to pick a location for memorial of late Bal Thackeray in the city.
"We had constituted a committee to look for an ideal place. I am talking to (Shiv Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray and we are in the process of selecting the location out of seven options suggested by the committee," Fadnavis said.