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Mamata no to all-party probe into farmers` deaths

CM Mamata Banerjee ruled out a probe by a team of MLAs belonging to all political parties into reports of farmers` deaths in West Bengal.

Updated: Jan 24, 2012, 19:11 PM IST

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday ruled out a probe by a team of MLAs belonging to all political
parties into reports of farmers` deaths in West Bengal,
terming them as incorrect.

Her statement came a day after Governor M K Narayanan said
such incidents were "unfortunately" taking place in the state.

The chief minister rejected the suggestion made by CPI MP
from Midnapore and general secretary of the party`s peasant
wing Probodh Panda when he met her at the state secretariat,
seeking her intervention.
"The chief minister told us that she had inquired into the
incidents and found out that the `campaign` that farmers were
committing suicide was not correct. Untrue reports are being
published in the media in this regard," Panda said.

"When there is no truth in it, where is the need then for
sending such a team?" the CPI leader quoted Banerjee as
telling the delegation led by him.
Panda said the delegation members tried to convince the
chief minister of the need to form an all-party MLA team,
referring to the concern voiced by Narayanan.

"We told her it should be ascertained whether such
suicides were due to the distress sale of paddy and other
agricultural produce by the farmers in different parts of the
state," Panda said.

He said the delegation submitted a nine-point memorandum
to her and pointed out that prices of potatoes and other
agricultural produce have come down in the markets across the
state as the peasants were making distress sale of them.

Panda said they requested Banerjee to provide an economic
package to the affected marginal farmers and families of the
peasants, who reportedly committed suicide, should also be
given compensation and that agricultural debts of the farmers
be waived.

"Farmers` suicide is an issue engaging the attention of
both the Centre and the state government. Such incidents are
unfortunately taking place ... We have to find a way to ensure
that this does not happen," Narayanan had told reporters
yesterday on the sidelines of an event.

PTI