New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) Senior BJP leader L K Advani has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy to Rs 1000 and give immediate debt relief to Andhra Pradesh sugarcane farmers.
In a letter to Dr Singh, Mr Advani said the MSP of paddy should be increased to Rs 1000 for the current procurement season and the cane growers of Andhra Pradesh should be given immediate debt relief.
The copy of the letter was released by the party here today.
Pointing out that there was growing unrest among the paddy growers across the country, particularly in the southern states, he said they feel that the UPA government was discriminating between paddy growers and wheat farmers.
The new MSP fixed by the Centre has no relation to the cost of cultivation which, according to the paddy growers, was between Rs 950 and Rs 1000, he said.
''I do appreciate the hike in wheat MSP. However, I feel that the concerns of paddy growers must be addressed by the government. I learn that several states government have brought this issue to the notice of your government. I, therefore, urge you to take urgent steps to declare a hike in the MSP for paddy to Rs 1000,'' he said in the letter.
Mr Advani also wanted the Centre to announce a number of relief measures for sugarcane growers of Andhra Pradesh, many of whom in Telengana region had committed suicide.
He demanded immediate debt relief for all distressed farmers, especially cane growers of Telengana, provision of timely credit to farmers and creation of a price stabilisation fund for farm produce.
The BJP leader also sought modification in the guidelines of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme so that farmers did not suffer labour shortage at critical times of farming operations.
He said reforms in the functioning of the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) were also needed so as to take into account the rising input prices on a district-to-district basis.
Mr Advani also demanded suitable action by the Andhra Pradesh government in respect of the alleged scandal in the privatisation of Nizam Sugar Mills.