Protest on Eluru-Bhimavaram road; train detained

The market problems of paddy growers are poised to snowball into a major political issue in the coastal region. The TDP led a protest at Undi in the district on Wednesday involving farmers from Krishna and West Godavari districts, demanding a fair deal for the producers. A road bandh was observed on the Eluru-Bhimavaram road and an express train was detained at Undi for some time as part of the protest.

N. Jayaprakash Narayan of the Lok Satta Party is scheduled to undertake a visit in the coastal Andhra area, beginning East Godavari district on Friday. In West Godavari district, he is scheduled to visit the paddy purchase centres at Undrajavaram, Duvva, Tadepalligudem, Pothunuru and Pedadapadu and interact with the growers on Saturday, Yerneni Nagendranadh of the Andhra Pradesh Rytanga Samakhya said. According to information, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy of the YSR Congress will undergo a two-day fast on the same issue in Gunturu on May 15 and 16. In a bid to diffuse the situation, the Civil Supplies Minister D. Sridhar Babu visited the paddy purchase centres in West and East Godavari districts and held meetings with millers insisting on minimum support price for the produce a few days ago.

Excess production is said to be one of the main reasons for the present marketing problems for the paddy. According to estimates, the State is expected to produce 1.19 crore tonness of paddy in an area of 44 lakh acres in the current rabi. The paddy was raised in 10 lakh acres in West and East Godavari districts in the current season as against 3 lakh acres during the previous season. Mr. Nagendranath complained that the farmers were forced to sell away their produce for a price less than the MSP by up to Rs 180 in Telangana area and by Rs 100 in the coastal districts for want of an effective market intervention programmes from the government side.