AIKS asks farmers in AP to be ready for agitation

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Vijayawada, Jun 29: The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) called upon the farmers in Andhra Pradesh to be prepared for an agitation, if the Congress government in the state failed to pay compensation to the farmers within a week for the crops damaged in untimely rains in various districts in the state.

Addressing a press conference here, AIKS state vice president Kolli Nageswara Rao alleged that though the farmers lost about Rs 1,000 crore worth crops in untimely rains from February to March, the state government had ''deceived'' them by estimating the loss at Rs 167.44 crore.

Criticising the state government for not distributing the compensation even after the beginning of Khariff season, Mr Rao said the dates for the agitation programme would be announced at its State Council Meeting to be held on July 1 at Eedougallu, near here.

Referring to the state government's announcement that it had released Rs 167.55 crore to farmers towards the compensation, Mr Rao, who is also the Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham (APRS) President, claimed that most of the peasants had not received the amount.

Mr Rao alleged that the suicide rates among the farmers started increasing after the Centre reduced agricultural subsidies in 1991, bowing to the pressure of the World Bank. He said the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, the Congress Government in the state and the main Opposition TDP had not bothered to question the US multinational Monasanto, which had sold the 400 gm BT-1 cotton seed packet at an exorbitant rate of Rs 1,850 against the actual price of Rs 650.

He recalled that on a petition filed by him against the US company, the MRTPC had issued a directive to them to sell the BT-1 cotton seed packet at Rs 750 and the cotton farmers in the country got a monetary concession of Rs 3,000 crore.

After the US company had decided to sell the 'BT Cotton-2' seed packet at Rs 1,400, the APRS and the state government asked it sell the seed at Rs 750, but they moved the court on the issue and finally the High Court passed an interim order, asking the companies to sell the BT-1 and BT-2 400 gms seed packets at not more than Rs 750, he recalled.

UNI

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