Staff Correspondent

It says Centre is indifferent to problems of farmers

  • Chidambaram accused of paying lip sympathy to farmers
  • `Budget has neglected the entire working class'

    BIDAR: Farmers here have expressed disappointment with the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday.

    "We are hurt and disappointed. We strongly oppose the budget. It shows the Union Government is indifferent to the problems of farmers and farm labourers," Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) State president Basavaraj Tambake said here on Wednesday.

    He said that although Mr. Chidambaram was "bragging" that he had presented an agriculture-oriented budget, there was nothing in it that could prevent farmers' suicides or contribute towards their all-round welfare.

    Mr. Tambake accused the Finance Minister of having only lip sympathy for farmers. He said a delegation of farmers' associations had met him recently and spent nearly one hour telling him of the problems faced by farmers and how they could be solved. But he had not incorporated any of their suggestions in the Budget, he said, and added that Mr. Chidambaram had let them down after they had reposed a lot of hope in him.

    He said the delegation had sought Rs. 80,000 crore for irrigation. But he had allotted only Rs. 10,000 crore. It had also asked him to announce a systematic action plan to stop farmers' suicides but even that had not been done.

    The other demands of the delegation, including for easy access to farm credit and insurance of all crops, had not been fulfilled either.

    Mr. Tambake said Mr. Chidambaram had tried to check the price rise of agricultural products. However, his attempt to do this by depriving farmers of a "fair price" for their produce was "cruel and unjust", he said, and added that the Government should come up with a mechanism to ensure that "housewives do not pay more for foodgrains and farmers do not get less".

    He said the budget also did not focus on reforming the Public Distribution System and had neglected the whole working class.