Gujarat minister rejects demand for aid for farmers’ kin

March 10th, 2008 - 10:31 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad, March 10 (IANS) Gujarat Agriculture Minister Dilip Singhani Monday turned down a demand for financial aid, raised by a group of relatives of farmers, who committed suicide because they could not repay debts. Speaking to the group which visited him, the minister said bluntly that government was not liable to “pay any money” to them.

The 15 members in the group, most of them women, hailed from villages in Morbi, Surendra Nagar and Amreli in the Saurashtra region.

They came to Gandhinagar to submit to the government a petition, seeking for each of the family grant of Rs.500,000 as well as reclamation of lands which were affected by floods in 2006.

Bharat Jhala, a social activist who associated the group, told IANS that the group met Singhani after Chief Minister Narendra Modi refused to meet them. The members held a 20-minute meeting with the minister, but his response was negative.

Shaken by the “insensitive attitude of the minister”, most women members came out of his room in “tears”, Jhala said. Even on the land reclamation demand, the government response was negative.

Jhala said the group did not expect such a response from the government. He said some women in the group hailed from Amreli, Singhani’s constituency.

He said the women members in the group would inform the villagers about the treatment meted out by the agriculture minister to them.

Jhala said they also met Shaktisinh Gohil, leader of the opposition, and acquainted him about the demands made to the government. He gave a patient hearing and he would raise the issue in the assembly, Jhala said.

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