Friday, February 8, 2013

Lok Satta debunks CM’s claim on farmers’ faith in Government

The Lok Satta Party today refuted Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s contention that the Congress Party’s victory in elections to cooperative societies testifies to farmers’ faith in his Government.

In a media statement, Lok Satta Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao and Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao pointed out that the Chief Minister sought to cover up the ruling party’s abuse of power ranging from enrolment of bogus members to offer of inducements for emerging victorious in cooperative elections.

Irrespective of the crop he raises or the region he belongs to, there has been little improvement in the farmer’s condition as evidenced by suicides by farmers and tenants.

The Lok Satta leaders underlined that the support price being offered by the State Government for fine varieties of paddy falls much below the cost of production estimated by the State Government itself in its note to the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices. The State Government has not been able to give input subsidy on time to the farmer buffeted by unprecedented power cuts, droughts and cyclones or ensure remunerative prices.

The leaders recalled that the farmer got up to Rs.8000 per quintal of cotton during the last season because of the efforts of the Lok Satta and independent farmers’ organizations in getting the ban on cotton exports lifted. Similarly, the farmer got a better price for fine variety of paddy following the lifting of restrictions on paddy exports in response to the ‘ryotu satyagraha’ launched by the Lok Satta.

Prices of cotton have now slumped almost 50 percent compared to last year. The farmer is left to his fate as there are no takers for cotton in the Warangal market yard and the produce he has brought to the market is soaked in rain.

Farmers would have sustained losses of up to Rs.10,000 crore this year because of the Government failure to ensure them fair prices for their produce.

The Lok Satta leaders wanted the Chief Minister to focus on improving productivity and ensuring remunerative prices for agricultural produce through free trade, and not confine himself to seeking their votes in elections. He should enable cooperatives to become self-reliant in tune with the spirit of the 97th Constitutional amendment.

"Instead of respecting cooperatives as vibrant farmers' organizations and empowering them, they are controlled by the Government and used for partisan politics. It is time all of us together changed the situation," added the Lok Satta leaders.

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