Thursday, October 20, 2011

Go to rescue of farmers in distress, Lok Satta tells Government

The failure of the Government to address the growing agrarian crisis is resulting in farmers resorting to vandalism at market yards, charged the Lok Satta Party today. If both the Union and State Governments persist with their anti-farmer policies, there is the risk of farmers extending holiday to all crops in all regions and hitting the road, warned Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao in a media statement here today.

The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that the State Government has not taken steps to ensure even minimum support prices, let alone remunerative prices, for agricultural produce, although farmers are groaning under the burden of higher cost of production. Farmers and tenants this year have had to reckon with an increase in the prices of seed and fertilizers, higher wages, usurious interest rates in the wake of banks’ failure to extend them liberal loans, and frequent power cuts and adverse weather conditions.

Mr. Varma and Mr. Bhaskara Rao instanced how traders are taking cotton growers for a ride by denying them a fair price. Although adverse weather and frequent power cuts have brought down cotton yields and there are no controls on exports, traders are deliberately depressing cotton prices. Instead of remaining a mute spectator, the State Government should persuade the the Cotton Corporation of India to enter the market and lift cotton at not less than Rs.7000 a quintal. Farmers should also be enabled to get loans against produce stored in warehouses.

The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the Government announce a State Advisory Price of Rs.2500 per ton of sugarcane. In the absence of an SAP, factories bought cane at rates varying from Rs.1900 to Rs.2250 last year. Similarly, the Government should announce a bonus of Rs.200 per bag of paddy. It should announce a special relief package to farmers in 470 drought-hit mandals.

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