Mumbai: A non-governmental organisation led by Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra will adopt 208 farmer families, whose only earning members have committed suicide, the NGO's top official said.
The Padma Bhushan Dr Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil Foundation will be launched on June 15 and adopt distressed farmer families from Ahmednagar district, the NGO's chief executive Sujay Vikhe Patil said.
Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, a former union minister, was engaged in social work. The Congress leader's son Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is currently leader of opposition in the Maharashtra assembly. He has served as agriculture minister in the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government.
The initiative will commence on his birthday on June 15, the NGO's CEO said, adding programs are organised every year on the occasion. The foundation will provide aid to the wife, parents and children of 208 farmer families in Ahmednagar district, he said.
It will take care of education, marriage and healthcare needs of these families, and also try to provide a source of income by supporting the families to start a business or secure a job, he said.
These are families already covered under some government schemes, he added. "However, we conducted a survey in the last two months across the district and realised that the state government's aid was insufficient. Hence we decided to chip in and fill the gap," Sujay Vikhe Patil said.
On Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil's absence from a protest by farmers in Maharashtra, he said, "My father got injured during the last phase of the Sangharsh Yatra, organised by Congress and NCP across the state. Doctors have advised him to avoid any stress and movement for some time."
"So he cannot participate personally but he has extended his support to the farmers' cause," Sujay Vikhe Patil said.