Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who took oath on Thursday, said his government will ensure concrete assistance to the state’s farmers and will work towards creating an atmosphere in which no one feels terrorised. After being sworn in by Governor BS Koshyari at a ceremony at the sprawling Shivaji Park, the chief minister chaired the first meeting of the new cabinet at Sahyadri Guest House in south Mumbai.
Thackeray said the first decision of the cabinet was to approve Rs 20 crore in funds for the conservation of the Raigad Fort, which was the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Thackeray said he has asked officials, including the state’s chief secretary, to give him complete information on state and central schemes for farmers within the next two days. “Once I get all the details, I will take a decision accordingly,” he said. “We can paint a better picture if we know the reality. We have sought inputs. Farmers have not got anything, but only assurances. We want to provide concrete help to farmers,” he told reporters after the meeting. “We want to ensure an atmosphere in the state wherein nobody will feel terrorised,” he said.
At the media briefing, Thackeray was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil, Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut. Patil, who took oath as a minister, said there will be a coordination committee of six ministers, including Thackeray, within the government. “There will be an external committee that will guide the government so as to achieve its goals,” he said. Farmers form a key part of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance released earlier on Thursday, which said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government would waive off their loans.
The steps listed in the CMP to benefit farmers include immediate assistance to those suffering due to premature rains and floods, an immediate loan waiver, revision of the crop insurance scheme to ensure immediate compensation to farmers who have lost their crops. Adequate steps will also be initiated to construct sustainable water supply systems in drought-affected areas, the document added. The Raigad Fort, located about 25km from Mahad in the eponymous district, is of particular importance to the state. The earlier Maharashtra government, led by Devendra Fadnavis, had budgeted Rs 500 crore to upgrade the fort which is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Shivaji renovated this fort and made it his capital in 1674 AD.