Purandeshwari bats for paddy growers cause

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (UNI) Irked at the ''injustice'' meted out to rice growers, an Andhra Pradesh delegation today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, seeking to highlight the disparity caused by the recent increase in Minimum Support Price MSP) to wheat growers.

The two-member delegation, led by Minister of State for Human Resource Development D Purandeshwari, along with another Congress MP, brought to the two leaders' notice that there had always been a parity in MSP provided to the paddy and wheat growers, where the difference between the two was less than Rs 100 right from 1991.

After the recent increase in the MSP for wheat at Rs 1000 a qunital, there was a huge gap of over Rs 300 in MSP of the two which was not in the interest of food security scenario, the Minister told the newspersons after her meetings.

She was accompanied by Mr Bala Shourie, the fellow Congress MP from Tenali.

Few more MPs from Andhra Pradesh were likely to seek appointments from the PM tomorrow, A P Bhawan sources indicated.

Ms Purandeshwari said the delegation also brought to the Dr Singh's notice, the recent ban on export of non-Basmati rice varieties that would hurt the image of the country and its exporters as it was sought to be imposed even without notice.

Normally, such a prohibition was to be given a month's notice so that the export commitments were not affected, she said.

The Minister added the PM had assured her to speak to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and the issue may come up at the next Cabinet meeting because the ban was the result of Cabinet decision.

This obviously meant that the government might do some re-thinking on the price as well as export ban, she said.

The Congress MPs from the rice growing areas have become active after the BJP leadership decided to take up the cause of paddy growers especially at a time when the mid-term polls were looming large on the horizon. The BJP has threatened to launch an agitation in nine rice-growing states to protest against injustice meted out to the rice growers.


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