Pandurang Fundkar, along with 15 lawmakers, is on a two-week study tour of Australia and New Zealand to review how those countries handle farm loans. (Video Grab)
Mumbai: Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar, accompanied by fifteen lawmakers and officials from the legislative assembly, are on a two-week study tour of Australia and New Zealand to review how those countries handle farm loans.
The trip has drawn criticism as the state is experiencing a drought and there have been reports of farmer suicides.
The cost per head for this trip is Rs 6 lakh and each delegate has been allowed to bring along a companion. Some legislators have taken a sibling or a personal assistant.
The BJP government is Maharashtra has said it is a study tour and not a junket.
She added that one should not try to equate this trip with the agrarian situation and the farmer suicides in Maharashtra.
“There are representatives from Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and BJP in this group. Please don’t try and equate the agrarian situation and farmer suicides with this study tour,” she said.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was opposed to the idea of the Agriculture Minister leading the delegation. “I have serious objections to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis allowing the Agricultural Minister to go on this trip. I had never allowed any minister to go on any delegation despite invitations.”
The Congress leader requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately recall all the ministers who are on a junket.