Mamata government is anti-farmer: BJP

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New Delhi, Mar 28: BJP on Sunday alleged that the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government was driving farmers to suicide by banning inter­-state movement of potatoes.

BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh claimed that due to the state's ban, traders from Jharkhand, Assam, Andhra Pradesh ignored Bengal farmers last year.

Mamata Banerjee

"Farmers suicide in West Bengal are Mamata made and farmers suicides in Maharastra, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP are nature made, Mamata said.

"Mamata government should answer when Haryana government can help farmers why you can't? Unfortunate that despite 17 farmers suicide this year the Mamata government is still not out of slumber," Singh added.

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Singh, who is in-charge of West Bengal affairs of BJP, said the Centre has amended rules relating to export of potato in February 2015 as free, thereby making the Minimum Export Price (MEP) on export of potato nullified.

He said the purpose of Central government's move was to help potato farmers to get benefit of export market for their surplus crop and the WB government should have taken advantage of this and approached APEDA (Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) like UP and Punjab.

"So that export contracts could be concluded and potato farmer's stocks lifted at a reasonable prices," he said.

He added that Punjab and UP government took timely help from Central government and both the governments co-operated. "There are no potato-related farmers deaths in UP and Punjab," Singh said.

He alleged that Mamata government's "anti-contract farming" policy also doesn't help farmers. "Moreover, Mamata government doesn't encourage potato farmers to form cooperatives so as to take advantage of better negotiations with MNCs," he said.

"It is unfortunate that Mamata government rather than helping the farmers in distress is making a mockery of them, when her Agriculture Minister Becharam Manna says that the farmers are dying because of their family feuds.

"The refusal to accept the suicides is not just political but also not to pay true compensation to the demised family and to the farmers for their crop losses. Mamata Government is anti farmer and why?" he said.

PTI

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