TDP to agitate in support of paddy growers

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Hyderabad, Oct 16 (UNI) Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu today asserted that his party would wage a ''relentless'' struggle against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre for its alleged refusal to hike the Minimum Support Price(MSP) for paddy to Rs 1000 per quintal.

Talking to newspersons here, he took strong objection to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's reported statement that there could be no comparison between the MSP for wheat and Paddy and maintained that cost of cultivation was, in fact, more for paddy than wheat.

Mr Naidu said he would lead the farmers in Krishna district, the rice bowl of the state, for an agitation on October 19.

''The Government even if it did not fix MSP higher for paddy more than the one for wheat, it should at least announce an MSP on par with wheat'', he demanded, giving a call to farmers to gear up for a protracted struggle against the ''anti-farmer'' policies of the Union and State Governments to open the ''eyes'' of the Government to the plight of peasants.

More than 40000 farmers were forced to commit suicide in Andhra Pradesh alone as they were caught in a debt trap with no remunerative price for their produce, he contended, adding that nowhere in the country over 2000 farmers were electrocuted, as the Government was supplying power to farms at odd hours during nights.

He charged the Congress-led Governments with putting on ''cold storage'' the reports of noted farm scientist M S Swaminathan and Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Jayati Ghosh.

When the Congress was in power at the Centre, ''injustice has been meted out to Andhra Pradesh whether it was allocation in railway budget or for building of roads'', he claimed.

Mr Naidu said he failed to understand whether the Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was striving to protect the interests of paddy growers in the State or the Central Government.


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