Rajnath stresses need to boost farmers' purchasing power

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New Delhi, Apr 2 (UNI) Openly coming in out support of farmers leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, the BJP today demanded that all cases registered against him by the Uttar Pradesh government be withdrawn immediately.

Inaugurating a Kisan Adalat of western Uttar Pradesh farmers as part of a fortnight-long Kheti Bachao Andolan, BJP President Rajnath Singh condemned the harassment and repressive measures resorted to by the state Government against Mr Tikait and asserted that he was a respected farmers' leader and was associated with the sentiments of the people.

When Mr Tikait himself had said that "Mayawati is like his daughter" and if his remarks had hurt anybody, he was ready to withdraw them, his word should be respected and all actions against him stopped and cases withdrawn, the BJP President said.

Mr Singh reiterated the BJP's demand that all loans to the farmers should be waived and said the waivers scheme announced by the Government did not benifit half of the indebted farmers.

He, however, criticised the manner in which the waivers scheme had been announced by Finance Minister P Chidambaram who till date had not made it clear from where he would be raising the Rs 60,000 crore needed to implement the scheme.

Urging the Government to bring out more projects for farmers to boost their purchasing power, the former Agriculture Minister stressed the need for bringing rural areas on par with the urban areas. If the purchasing powers in rural areas were enhanced, it would lead to prosperity for all sections of people and service providers.

The former UP Chief Minister called for implementation of projects like the crop insurance scheme, pension scheme for farmers, and loan on interest rate of not more than 4 per cent.

''In the rough and tumble of Indian farming, if a farmer completes 50 years, it is a creditable thing. We demand the government pay pension to one eligible farmer in the family,'' Mr Singh said, pointing out that over 70,000 farmers had Committed suicide especially in the Vidharba region.

Suggesting that the Centre should convene a special session of Parliament to work out an action plan to finalise the pension scheme for farmers, he said the crop insurance should ensure a seven year average return for every acre of land.

He said holding Kisan Adalats throughout the country to establish contact with the farmers representatives would go a long way in understanding the problems of the community.

''The BJP was committed to reaching out to this section because national development hinges on the welfare of majority of the people involved in agricultural trades,'' he said.

UNI KAS/MCN MSJ RN1728

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