Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President & MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has strongly condemned Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao for neglecting the problems being faced by maize, paddy and cotton farmers despite massive protests going on across the Telangana State.
He was speaking to media persons after inaugurating a camp office in Dubbak for the duration of the by-election campaign. Former ministers G. Vinod and Damodar Reddy, ex-MLAs Maheshwar Reddy and Mahender Reddy, TPCC General Secretary Prem Lal and other senior leaders were also present on the occasion.
Reddy said that the fate of lakhs of farmers depends on the outcome of Dubbak elections. “CM KCR has been pursuing anti-farmers policies since 2014. The TRS Government not only neglected the welfare of farmers, but created new problems in every season for the farm sector,” he alleged citing the example of how the Chief Minister advised farmers to grow specific crops like maize and superfine varieties of paddy and now the government is not procuring those crops.
The TPCC Chief said that the lakhs of farmers, who cultivated maize on the advice of the Chief Minister, are now demanding Minimum Support Prices of Rs. 1,850. However, with less than 15 days left for completion of harvesting, not a single procurement centre has been opened. He pointed out that farmers in Jagtial, Nizamabad, Sircilla, Kamareddy and other districts have been holding massive protests demanding procurement of maize at Rs. 1,850 as MSP.
Similarly, Uttam said that the Chief Minister had advised farmers to grow superfine varieties of paddy, instead of regular varieties. Consequently, the farmers made extra investments towards input cost and got less than half of yield compared to the regular (thicker) variety of rice. While the thicker (doddu in Telugu) varieties of paddy were yielding 30 quintals per acre, the finer (sanna in Telugu) varieties of paddy were yielding 20 quintals per acre. “Since the farmers are cultivating finer varieties of paddy on the specific directions of the Chief Minister, the paddy farmers are losing Rs.10,000 per acre because of lower yield. The State Govt should purchase the finer varieties of paddy at Rs.2500 per quintal,” he demanded.
Uttam Kumar Reddy also condemned the TRS Government for not extending any help to the farmers who lost their crops due to heavy rains and floods in different parts of the State. He said although the State Govt has pegged the crop loss at about 13 lakh acres, the farmers’ organisations have estimated the losses to be of more than 20 lakh acres costing around Rs. 5,000 crore. He said that the State Government has not put the process in motion to enumerate the losses and help the affected farmers. Instead, CM KCR is trying to under-report the losses by more than half. Referring to the practices of previous regimes, he said that earlier the State Government used to provide some immediate interim relief to the farmers from its own funds and remaining compensation used to come from the Central Government after enumeration. However, he said that the farmers never got any relief in cases of natural calamities from the State Government ever since TRS came to power in 2014.
The TPCC Chief said that the cotton farmers were the worst hit due to recent heavy rains and floods. Of nearly 60 lakh acres, cotton crop spread across 20 lakh acres is estimated to have been lost due to inundation in flood waters. The State Government should take immediate measures to compensate the cotton farmers for the lost crops. Further, the State Government should also procure the damaged cotton at MSP.
He said that the farmers followed the government’s advice in sowing cotton and paddy under the Regulated Cropping system. Therefore, it is the duty of the KCR Government to compensate for the losses farmers suffered due to rains and floods. He demanded compensation of Rs. 20,000 per acre for the crops damaged due to rains and floods.