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Farmers pour paddy on road in Delhi

J. Venkatesan

They demand Rs.1,500 as minimum support price; submit memorandum to Manmohan



HIGHLIGHTING THEIR PLIGHT: Members of the Confederation of Farmers Associations-Tamil Nadu staging a protest to demand hike in minimum support price for paddy in New Delhi on Thursday.

New Delhi: Farmers affiliated to the Confederation of Farmers’ Associations — Tamil Nadu on Thursday poured paddy on road here to highlight their plight and demand that the Centre announce a remunerative price of Rs.1,500 as minimum support price (MSP) for a quintal.

Farmers led by confederation president Vettavalam K. Manikandan took out a rally from Ambedkar Bhavan on Rani Jhansi Road to Jantar Mantar, carrying a bag of paddy on their head. On reaching Parliament Street, they poured the grain on the road.

Later, in a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the confederation said, “While the MSP for paddy for 2007-2008 is Rs.745, including a bonus of Rs.100, the MSP for wheat is Rs.1,000.”

Interim announcement

They wanted immediate interim announcement of Rs.1000 as MSP, and wanted it raised to Rs.1,000 later.

“This is the most important step to be taken by the Centre and the State governments to ensure food security of the nation,” the memorandum said, urging the Prime Minister to ensure remunerative price and price protection for all farm produce.

The confederation wanted the Government “to ensure Price-Index based MSP for all farm produce, ensuring a minimum margin of 50 per cent over and above the total cost of cultivation, as recommended by the National Commission on Farmers, headed by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan.”

It said more than 100 million farmers, who cultivate paddy on 44 million hectares and produce 90 million tonnes of rice, contributing a major share of the nation’s food security, were in distress due to unfavourable and non-remunerative price.

“The meagre bonus of Rs.50 for a quintal of paddy in October and November was only a solace and not a solution to the crisis faced by paddy farmers,” the memorandum added.

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