Cong condemns Oppo for stalling proceedings in Parliament

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New Delhi, Feb 27 (UNI) The Congress today lashed out at the Opposition, particularly the BJP, for stalling proceedings in both Houses of Parliament on farmers issue, asserting that the government was ready to discuss any issue.

Congress Parliamentary Party spokesman Manish Tiwari said the behaviour of the Opposition and some other parties in both the Houses was condemnable, yet "we urge them to allow the House to function normally and we are ready to discuss any issue, threadbare, including the farmers issue." In a separate briefing, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi also made similar appeal to the Opposition, assuring that the government is ready to discuss the farmers issue provided the house was not disturbed. He regretted the manner in which Opposition stalled proceedings in both the Houses on the farmers issue, forcing the chair to adjourn the Houses before schedule.

Mr Tiwari asserted that the UPA government was more concerned than the opposition parties about the problems of the farming community and several rounds of talks had been held with farmers delegations to redress their grievances. Therefore the Opposition was totally wrong while alleging that government was apathetic to farmers cause.

Describing the Opposition's concern about the farmers' plight as mere "crocodile tears", he said the condition of farmers was worse in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh which were being ruled by the BJP.

To substantiate his claim, he said that the condition of farmers in Rajasthan was very precarious but the state government was hardly doing anything.

Mr Tiwari said the BJP government in Rajasthan had increased power tariff, putting extra burden on farmers. As many as 35 farmers had so far been killed in police firing.

He also pointed out that the recent unprecedented cold wave had affected at least 5,00,000 farmers in 22 districts of Rajasthan, due to which the farmers lost their crops to the tune of over Rs 1000 crore. But the state government had just given a relief of Rs 126 crore to them and was trying to put the onus on the Centre for relief.

Mr Tiwari said the Centre had provided Rs 1000 crore to the state in the past four years under "Calamity Relief Fund" and if the amount so allocated remained unutilised it was considered under the State Expenditure Plan.

He said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was however trying to make it a political issue and asked the Centre that the crops so damaged by the climate should also be covered under the Calamity Relief Fund.

To a question, Mr Tiwari said there were many proposals from states to include various things for the "Calamity Relief Fund".

The Centre was taking a holistic view and decide on the matter, he added.

UNI KAS LS VC1855

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