The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member and All India Kisan Sabha general secretary K. Varadarajan on Saturday urged the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government to implement the M.S. Swaminathan Committee Recommendations for reducing the price of fertilizers, seeds and pesticides and increase the minimum support price of agricultural produce.

Criticised

Speaking at an interactive session organised by the Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha on fertilizer policy here, Mr. Varadarajan criticised the centre for its failure to give relief to farmers. Accusing the centre of dancing to the tunes of the U.S., he alleged that the UPA Government was more serious than its predecessors in implementing the “liberation, privatisation and globalisation” policy. This the reason for reducing the fertilizer subsidy by Rs. 3,000 crore in the last budget.

The Government raised the price of urea by 10 per cent as a disincentive to save soil quality and farmers from low productivity. If it was sincere, he said, the Centre should have reduced the price of potassium and sulphate.

Mr. Varadarajan accused the Centre of reducing food subsidy by Rs. 428 crore. Even the discretion to reduce the subsidy for fertilizer had been passed onto the company concerned, subjecting farmers to further harassment and fraud.

The CPI(M) leader alleged that the Government was allowing multinational corporations to trade in 198 agricultural produces in the country.

Farmers and those who depended on agriculture would be unable to compete with them as their prices would be low, because of their mass production. Bt. Cotton and Bt. Brinjal, introduced by companies such as Monsanto, would destroy Indian farmers.

All these had prompted the CPI (M) and Kisan Sabha to launch an agitation against the Centre in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala.

He said they would join non-Congress and non-BJP parties and mass organisations to take up the struggle wherever the CPI(M) had less influence.

The State unit leaders such as Maruthi Manpade and Bayya Reddy spoke.

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