Naidu woos farmers ahead of polls

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Hyderabad, Sep 2 (UNI) Alleging that the ruling Congress was ''indifferent'' to the problems of farmers, TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu today said if his party was voted back to power, he would ensure free power to them for 12 hours and waive off loans for all categories of farmers.

Seeking clarifications from the Congress Government on farmers' issues in the State Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition claimed that it was because of the campaign undertaken by the TDP and the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) in seven states that the Centre had announced loan waiver for at least a section of farmers.

If voted to power, the TDP would ensure that all sections of farmers were covered by the scheme as indebtedness was the main reason for suicide of 4,682 farmers during the Congress regime in the state, he promised amid thumping of desks by TDP members.

Most of the farmers were not benefitted by the loan waiver as banks had done book adjustment against old loans, he said.

Contending that the state government saved Rs 800 crore by reducing free power supply to peasants by two hours, he promised to provide ryots power free of cost for 12 hours if his party was voted to power in the next elections.

He likened the Chief Minister to Nero, who was fiddling when Rome was burning, as he was not rescuing the farmers facing shortage of farm inputs, including fertilisers.

Questioning the Congressmen for ''remaining silent'' when the Centre hiked the Minimum Support Price for Wheat to Rs 1000 per quintal but not for paddy, he pressed for adoption of a resolution by the State Assembly, urging the Centre to hike the MSP to Rs 1000 per quintal also for Paddy as recommended by the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices and demanding implementation of the recommendations of noted agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan for improving the lot of farmers.

Alleging that fertilizers were being sold in black market, he demanded a categorical assurance from the government when farmers would be provided the required quantity of fertilisers.

UNI SM VA MIR HT1747

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