TDP to step up stir in support of farmers: Naidu

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Hyderabad, Feb 15 (UNI) Maintaining that Andhra Pradesh was witnessing the second highest rate of suicide among farmers after Maharashtra in the country, Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu today asserted that the Telugu Desam Party would step up agitation to ensure remunerative price for farmers for their produce.

Returning after visiting the worst-hit Prakasam district in the recent rains, Mr Naidu alleged that the ruling Congress had failed to expert pressure on the United Progressive Alliance Government to increase the minimum support price for paddy. According to the National Crime Bureau, over 2600 farmers were forced to end their lives during the Congress rule in the State, he said Referring to the recommendations of the committe headed by noted farm scientist M S Swaminathan, the TDP President said ''we will agitate till farmers got remunerative price for their produce''.

Participating in an inconclusive debate on the motion of thanks for the Governor's address, Mr Naidu alleged that farmers were in trouble losing ready-to-harvest crops because of untimely rains. The Government had failed to rescue them, he added.

He vehemently opposed acquisition of fertile farm lands for setting up Special Economic Zones(SEZ).

Clarifying that he had not dubbed agriculture profession as a ''waste'' as repeatedly claimed by the ruling Congress, he said he only wanted to reduce the number of people dependent on agriculture.

The present Chief Minister, too, was talking on those lines to make farming profitable.

The Congress Government had failed to implement its poll promise of free power to farmers fully, he claimed adding that because of reduction in power supply to energise farm pump sets to seven hours, the Government had saved Rs 800 crore and the subsidy burden for the Government was only Rs 400 crore. What happened to the Congress promise of providing free current to poor people, he asked.

With no support from the Congress Government, members of the Backward Classes were unable to face the competition in the globalised era, he claimed.

UNI SM KVV SY VC1939

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