Kerala Oppn walks out over paddy destruction

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Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 17 (UNI) The Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front today staged a walkout protesting the government's refusal to allow a debate on the destruction of paddy in Alappuzha, Kottayam and Palakkad Districts.

Four UDF members - Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, M Murali, Joseph M Puthusheri and M Ummar - also sat on a hunger strike on the foyer of the Assembly protesting the government's failure in taking timely action.

Replying to the Adjournment Motion, State Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Retnakaran said the government was taking all steps against the destruction of paddy due to the summer rainfall.

He told the Assembly that the officials concerned had been asked to give a report on crop destruction and the matter would be discussed at tomorrow's Cabinet meeting.

A meeting of farmers, MLAs and others had been convened today to take stock of the situation, he added.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in the Assembly Oommen Chandy alleged the adamant attitude of the pro -CPI (M) Kerala Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU) led to the destruction of the paddy.

The KSKTU did not allow the use of reaping machine in the area, he said adding the paddy could have been cut before the summer rainfall.

The Minister had not taken the situation seriously and was just reporting what the officials had told him, Mr Chandy said and asked the Minister to talk to the farmers of the region before calling for a meeting.

UNI PN GM PJ DS1255

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