Left peasants demand declaring WB drought national calamity

The CPI(M)-led left peasants` organisations have demanded that the Centre declare the drought in West Bengal as a national calamity.

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2010, 15:00 PM IST

Kolkata: The CPI(M)-led left peasants` organisations have demanded that the Centre declare the drought in West Bengal as a national calamity, commute crop loan for farmers during 2010 and provide easy loan at four percent interest for alternate farming.

A joint committee of the organisations, which met here yesterday, alleged that the funds sanctioned under NREGA was a "very meagre" Rs 170 crore against the total fund of Rs 1,400 crore alloted to the state.

"We demand that the remaining amount under the scheme be immediately disbursed for poor farmers of the state," they said in a statement.
It was not possible to save the state`s agro-economy unless the Central government fully commuted the kharif crop loan and arranged fresh loan for cultivation, it said.

"The state government will have to come forward to take up alternate cultivation in drought-hit districts," it said.

Claiming that the actual income of farmers was dropping in meeting the increased cost of production as a fallout of Centre`s "anti-people" policies, it said agriculture labourers
and poor farmers had been affected by the drought.

The statement also expressed fear that Rabi cultivation might be affected due to fall in the water table in many districts. "This may cause severe scarcity of drinking water
and that required for jute cultivation."

PTI