Concern in Lok Sabha over farmers` plight

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Rajnath Singh (BJP) also wanted that MNREGA should be linked with agriculture.

Last Updated: Aug 29, 2011, 15:05 PM IST

New Delhi: Concern was voiced in the Lok Sabha on Monday over the plight of farmers, with Opposition members demanding a stimulus package for agriculture and a special session of Parliament to discuss the problems in the countryside.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Rajnath Singh (BJP) also wanted that MNREGA should be linked with agriculture as there was crisis of skilled labour for working in the fields
after the scheme was brought into force.

Singh, who was supported by several opposition members, sought declaration of farming as a `national occupation`, given the fact that majority of the population depended upon
agriculture.

He also wanted immediate implementation of the MS
Swaminathan Committee recommendations to tackle the "grim
situation" facing the agriculture sector.

Singh, who recently visited coastal Andhra Pradesh, said
he was concerned over the decision of farmers of about eight
districts including East Godavari not to produce paddy in view
of not getting remunerative prices. "They are not able to
recover even input costs," he said.

He said the farmers from the area have declared "a crop
holiday or a strike which is an unprecedented development in
the agriculture sector in the country" and could affect food
security.

Maintaining that a similar situation was facing farmers in
other parts of the country too, Singh sought Rs 10,000 per
acre as compensation to the affected farmers.

His party colleague KD Deshmukh pointed towards severe
shortage of fertiliser in Balaghat and Seoni areas of Madhya
Pradesh.

Deshmukh complained that despite government`s assurance
ten days back that it would send a rake of DAP (Diammonium
Phosphate) fertiliser each to the two areas, "nothing has
reached the affected places so far."

He warned that this would "adversely hit cultivation and
lead to crop failure also" and demanded immediate action by
the Fertiliser Ministry.

Forward Bloc member Nripendranath Roy also raised the
problem of "very low" prices the jute farmers were getting in
West Bengal and other states.

"Forget about profits, the jute farmers can`t even make
both ends meet," he said and demanded immediate hike of
procurement prices from Rs 1,670 per quintal to Rs 4,000.

Haribhau Madhav Jawale (BJP) castigated the Finance
Ministry for not releasing "already-approved funds" worth Rs
558 crore for cleansing water bodies in Maharashtra, saying
the rapid fall in ground water level was creating problems for
the people and farmers.

"Despite the state being ruled by the Congress party, the
Centre was not committing injustice towards Maharashtra", he
said.

PTI