None of the parties has taken cognisance of the farmers’ manifesto, says Shanthakumar

The Sugarcane Growers’ Association has taken exception to political parties ‘ignoring’ agricultural issues in the run-up to the elections.

Association president Kurubur Shanthakumar said, “None of the political parties has taken cognisance of the farmers’ manifesto, but were instead shedding crocodile tears over the fate of Indian farmers and paying lip sympathy to their cause.”

Without mentioning Kannada litterateur and Jnanpith Award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy’s name, he said, “Those who have won the Jnanpith Award were embroiled in politics and seeking votes. But, they have not said a word about farmers’ suicide.”

The farmers, under the aegis of the Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Association (CIFA), had released a wish list akin to a manifesto. They had recommended that the minimum support price for agricultural produce should be the actual cost of production, plus 50 per cent extra. They had also called for making the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices an autonomous body, and stressed the urgency for enhancing the efficiency in procurements of agricultural produce.

The farmers wanted an overhaul of the crop insurance scheme and the time taken for crop loss evaluation, and listed minimum wages, social security for farmers on the lines of government employees, pension to farmers’ families, medical reimbursement to family members and Rs. 2 lakh for farmers as some of their demands.

“It was unfortunate that none of the issues raised by farmers have been taken seriously by political parties, who are seeking votes through money power and liquor,” Mr. Shanthakumar alleged.

He warned of a backlash by farmers if there was no response to their manifesto within three days.

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