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CM urged to oppose Seed Act proposals

KULITHALAI: Farmers have urged the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to oppose the Seed Act proposals that “work against the interests of farmers.”

Pointing to the anomalies in the Seed Act schedules, working president of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association Mahadanapuram V. Rajaram said that with the enunciation of the Seed Control Regulation in 1983, the Centre conferred vast powers on the State Governments to regularise and streamline availability of quality agricultural inputs such as seeds. Agriculture being in the State list, the interest of the farmers lay with the State Government as much as the Centre needs to look into the prospects.

However, through the Seed Bill proposals that first saw the light of day in 2004 the Centre arrogated to itself many powers depriving an edge to the State Government to effectively intervene in case of farmers' requirements.

Successive amendments to the draft proposals due to many rounds of discussion with the farmers served only to restore some of the “lost rights'' though many important schedules remained under a cloud with the Centre wielding the power in deciding on crucial issues, Mr. Rajaram points out.

What the farmers want is participation as a stakeholder in the dialogue process of issues concerning them, Mr. Rajaram says observing that trampling on the rights of farmers and thereby affecting the economic interests of the community will in no way help the ryots.

Especially in matters such as genetically modified items and Seed Act schedules that affect them, farmers' views should be given credence and their voices heard.

To dispel any doubt among the public and farmers on the controversial schedules of the Seed Act, the Centre must confer with the State Government and the farmers.

Intervene

To facilitate that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa must effectively intervene on behalf of the farmers and instil confidence among the agricultural fraternity.

There are strong doubts whether the proposals have been brought forward for the benefit of the farmers or to assist the business prospects of the international companies.

While still a debate rages on the merits and demerits of the genetically modified seeds the Centre's plans on Seed Act proposals should not send a wrong signal to the farmers and Ms. Jayalalithaa should register her opposition to the Centre and help farmers, Mr. Rajaram has said.

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