Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President Capt. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has accused BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre and TRS Government in the State of playing with the lives of lakhs of farmers.
Addressing a press conference at Kodad on Saturday, Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the Central Government was misleading the farmers on procurement of chilli. He said that the Centre proposes to purchase only 10% of the total produce and it did not even give details of mechanism through which the chilli would be purchased. He said that the Central Government did not mention whether the chilli would be procured through Markfed or other agencies. Describing the move as “too little and too late”, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was equally responsible for the ongoing agrarian crisis in the State.
Uttam Kumar Reddy reminded that during 2014 elections, Narendra Modi had promised to implement the Swaminathan Commission report which recommended procurement of agriculture crops by paying at least 50% of amount in addition to the total input cost incurred by farmers. He said that the promise was repeated in more than 100 public meetings addressed by Modi. However, he said that the Central Government completely forgot its role and responsibility in procurement of crops causing huge distress to farmers.
The TPCC Chief strongly condemned Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao for remaining indifferent to the plight of farmers in the State. 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. Based on this advisory, more than one lakh farmers cultivated chilli instead of cotton expecting high prices. However, instead of ensuring procurement of chilli, KCR is making statements blaming over-production for the decrease in chilli prices. He condemned the Chief Minister for not announcing any intervention despite thousands of farmers taking to streets in protest against not getting remunerative prices.
“Is it not the responsibility of KCR to bail out chilli farmers? He must visit Market Yards to understand the ground reality and take immediate and appropriate steps to help the chilli farmers. He is conducting superficial meetings by sitting at Pragathi Bhavan as an eye-wash. Besides ensuring procurement of entire chilli for Rs. 12,000 per quintal, the State Government should pay compensation to the farmers for causing them pain and agony,” he demanded.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the negligent attitude of KCR and TRS Government was driving many farmers to suicide. “Instead of setting up Market Intervention Fund immediately to help the farmers who cultivated chilli, turmeric, onion, paddy and other crops, the Chief Minister is promising to pay Rs. 4,000 per acre fertilizer subsidy from next year. This is nothing but an election gimmick. KCR wants to lure farmers with the payment during the election year. If KCR is really honest, then he must pay the input subsidy from this Khariff season itself,” he said. He also condemned registration of criminal cases against farmers who held protest to press for their genuine demands. “This intimidating politics of KCR would not last long and farmers would teach him a fitting lesson in next elections,” he said.
The TPCC chief asked the Chief Minister to at least emulate the neighbouring States in helping the chilli farmers. He said while neighbouring Andhra Pradesh had announced a supportive price of Rs. 1500 per quintal, Karnataka is paying bonus in addition to the market prices to farmers. He said that while the TRS Government goes an extra mile to pay to contractors, it did not do anything to help the distressed farmers.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said both KCR and Modi Governments were proving to be a curse on farmers as they remained insensitive to their woes. Now they have entered into a blame game to protect themselves from the wrath of farmers. He warned that the Congress party would not rest until it gets justice for chilli, turmeric and other farmers in the State. (NSS)