Minister asks TDP not to provoke farmers

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Hyderabad, Dec 13 (UNI) Reiterating that the Congress Government was fully committed to farmers' welfare, the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh today asked the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and BJP not not to instigate the farmers to agitate and ''play with their lives for the sake of power''.

''Thanks to good rains, the farmers were fully into agricultural activities and they have no reason to take to the streets as they had during the erstwhile TDP regime for timely credit and farm inputs at subsidised rates,'' agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy told reporters here.

At a farmers meet, both the TDP President and former BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu had expressed displeasure over the ''poor response'' from farmers to their call to intensify stir against the Union and State Governments, he claimed, appealing to the opposition parties not to ''demoralise'' the farmers.

He challenged the two parties to fight the Congress on political front instead of ''provoking the farmers to take to the streets in a bid to return to power''.

Only the UPA Government had appointed noted farm scientist M S Swaminathan as chairman of the National Commission on farmers, he asserted, adding both the Union and State Governments would implement his recommendations for the uplift of farmers.

He asked the TDP, which had come out with its future agenda, whether it was still committed to provide free power or dropped the idea as there was no mention of it in its future agenda.

Referring to the TDP's promise to write off loans advanced to farmers, he asked why the TDP had not done so when the state faced drought in seven of its nine-year rule.

The rate of interest for farm loans had been brought down by commercial banks from 14 per cent to seven per cent and by cooperative banks from 12 per cent to five per cent, he said adding Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has decided in principle to provide loans to farmers at a mere three per cent from next Khariff and asked the banks to work out the details.

UNI

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