Opposition walks out in Rajya Sabha on AP farmers` issue

The opposition staged a walk out in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday expressing dissatisfaction over the reply of Home Minister P Chidambaram on central aid given to Andhra Pradesh to tide over damage to crops due to natural calamities.

New Delhi: The opposition today staged a walk
out in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday expressing dissatisfaction over
the reply of Home Minister P Chidambaram on central aid given
to Andhra Pradesh to tide over damage to crops due to natural
calamities.

"We are not satisfied with the minister`s reply. Around
380 farmers have committed suicide. In respect to them, we are
walking out," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said as he
led his party members out of the House. The entire opposition
then followed the BJP members.
Earlier, responding to a Call Attention notice on the
issue, Chidambaram said, "We have done our best to Andhra
Pradesh as per approved norms of assistance."

From the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), the
Centre has approved Rs 264.54 crore and Rs 172,23 crore for
damage caused due to floods and "Jal" cyclone, respectively,
to Andhra Pradesh in 2010.

About Rs 400 crore was released towards relief in
pursuance of the PM`s announcement, he said.

Besides, central share of State Disaster Response Fund
(SDRF) amounting Rs 381.63 crore was released, he said.

Noting that the Centre will release more funds after the
revised norms of assistance, Chidambaram said, "Once norms are
revised, we will do more. The government is looking into it.
These norms are to be approved by the Cabinet."

The Centre last revised the norms in July 2009, he added.
The minister also said that no enhanced scale of relief
has been given to any state in the country.

Reacting to the minister`s reply, Naidu said Andhra
Pradesh has been discriminated in releasing central assistance
as compared to Tamil Nadu.

"Neither the Prime Minister nor the Agriculture Minister
visited the affected areas in the state," he said, adding that
the Centre has not heeded to the request of Andhra Pradesh,
which sought higher amount of aid to help the 23 lakh farmers
affected in the state.

Farmers have suffered huge loss due to untimely rains and
occurrence of cyclones last year, he said.

Naidu also pointed out the delay in the announcement of
central aid and no progress on reschedule of farm loans.

Echoing similar views, M V Mysura Reddy (TDP) urged the
government to give permission to the Andhra Pradesh government
to enhance the scale of flood relief to farmers from the
current Rs 6,000 per hectare to Rs 8,000.

Syed Azeez Pasha (CPI) said the Centre should declare the
recent natural calamity in Andhra Pradesh as National Disaster
and compensate farmers with Rs 10,000 per hectare and Rs five
lakh per family in case of life loss.

Similarly, Jesudasu Seelam (Cong) said the government
should have a "liberal view" on Andhra Pradesh vis-a-vis
central assistance.

PTI

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