Thursday, October 24, 2013

Farmers suffering because of market cess diversion: Dr.JP

If agricultural produce brought by farmers to market yards in Telangana is washed away in rains these days, the blame lies squarely with the State Government, said Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.

In a media statement, Dr. JP pointed out that the State Government which collects Rs.600 crore a year as market cess has over the years diverted it for other purposes instead of utilizing it to improve market yards.

Dr. JP recalled that during his Rytu Chaitanya Yatras in Medak and Nizamabad districts he noticed that farmers including women who had brought their produce for sale had to spend days at market yards without even minimum facilities like toilets.

He underlined that a cess is levied for a specific purpose and the market cess is meant for improving market yards. It is not a tax meant to augment the State’s revenue. The Government has been using market committees to rehabilitate politicians, instead of providing representation to genuine farmers. As a result, officials are having a field day.

Dr. JP demanded that market yards be improved with construction of compound walls and toilets and provision of covered space for storing produce and electronic weighing equipment.

The Government collects crores of rupees by way of market cess in Seemandhra districts too but does not utilize it on improving marketing facilities. Cotton brought to market yards is damaged in rains as there are no covered space. As a result, the price of cotton has plummeted from Rs.4000-5000 to Rs.2500-3000 a quintal.

Dr. JP wanted the Government to provide storage facilities for cotton, and cold storages for crops like chilli and turmeric and arrange for grant of pledge loans.

If the Government does not improve market yards, farmers should launch an agitation, said Dr. JP and pledged Lok Satta Party’s support.

Mr. P. Bhaskara Rao, leader, farmer’s wing of the Lok Satta Party, wanted the State Government to go to cyclone-hit farmers’ rescue immediately. The Government should also focus its attention on improving the drainage system too so that farmers do not suffer crop losses year after year.

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