Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President Capt. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy demanded that the State Government immediately procure Mirchi (Chilli) at the rate of Rs. 12,000 per quintal to bail out over one lakh farmers who were badly hit due to falling prices.
Speaking to media persons after visiting the affected farmers in Medicheruvu mandal of Suryapet district on Saturday, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the chilli farmers of Telangana were in severe crisis due to low market prices for their produce. He strongly condemned the State Government for completely ignoring the plight of chilli farmers and said that the officials did no intervention to get proper Minimum Support Price for the chilli crop. He pointed out that the State Government, through the Department of Agricultural Economics, PJTSAU, Hyderabad, had issued a forecast stating that the Chilli price per quintal will be around Rs. 11000-11400 at the time of harvesting in February-March 2017. This encouraged more than one lakh farmers to cultivate chilli instead of cotton expecting high prices.
As against 70,000 acres of chilli cultivation last year, this year the crop was cultivated in near 2 lakh acres. However, the prices are now hovering around Rs. 5,000 per quintal causing huge losses to the farmers. In some cases, he said that the traders have reduced prices and buying the chilli for as less as Rs. 4500-5000 per quintal.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the Congress party would launch a mass agitation to get proper MSP for chilli farmers. He said a dharna would be organised in all Assembly constituency headquarters, where chilli is grown, onApril 3 and a representation would to be given to Tahshildar demanding that the State Government buy mirchi immediately at Rs. 12,000 per quintal.
The TPCC chief said that TRS Government in the State and BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre were anti-farmer. He said that both the governments paid no attention to the problems being faced by the farmers. He said that the farmers were not getting proper MSP for their produce and no arrangements have been made to ensure procurement of all agricultural products.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the State Government was unwilling to wake up from its slumber despite hundreds of farmers resorting to protest at various places. He said two days ago, chilli farmers had burnt chillies in front of Enumamula, Kothagudem and Khammam chilli market yards as a mark of protest for not getting proper price. He said thousands of farmers were being put to hardship as market officials were refusing to buy chilli citing sufficient stock in cold storages.
The TPCC chief said that the Congress party would intensify its agitation if the State and Central Government fail to come to the rescue of chilli farmers on war footing basis. (NSS)