New Delhi, Oct 21: Senior BJP leader and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, LK Advani, has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring his attention to the “growing unrest among the paddy growers across the country, particularly in the southern states."
Advani said in the letter dated October 20 that the paddy farmers were agitated over the new Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed by the Centre, which has no relation to the cost of cultivation.
An added cause for their unrest is the widespread feeling that the UPA government is discriminating between paddy growers vis-À-vis the wheat growers, he claimed.
“It is reported that the CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) has recommended an MSP of Rs. 1,000 per quintal for wheat in the coming season. Paddy growers, however, will get Rs.645 per quintal for the common variety and Rs.675 per quintal for the A grade. These are only slightly higher compared to the MSP of Rs.620 and Rs.650 respectively in the previous season," Advani wrote.
He said that many representatives of farmers" organizations have approached him to say that the MSP for paddy is way below the cost of cultivation, which, according to them, is about Rs.950- Rs.1000 per quintal. This is due to the steep hike in recent years in the cost of all the inputs – power, irrigation, transportation, fertilizers, pesticides and labour.
Appreciating the hike in the MSP for wheat, Advani, however, said the government must address the concerns of paddy growers.
“I learn that several state governments 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. 1,000 for the current procurement season," he said. The letter also mentioned about “certain important issues" concerning sugarcane growers in Andhra Pradesh.