They want the MSP for red gram to be increased to Rs. 5,000

Farmers and traders’ organisations have decided to intensify the agitation for their demand that the State and Union governments fix the minimum support price (MSP) for red gram at Rs. 5,000 a quintal.

Addressing presspersons after a meeting of leaders of farmers’ and trade organisations here on Sunday, Maruti Manpade, president of the Karnataka Pranta Raitha Sangha; Basavaraj Ingin, president of the Karnataka Red Gram Growers’ Association; and B.R. Patil, former legislator, said that a series of agitations would be held, which would culminate in a district bandh on January 29.

They said that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa had gone back on their promise to increase the MSP. They had also promised to lead a delegation of farmers and traders from the region to New Delhi to put pressure the Centre to increase the MSP. “It was based on that assurance that farmers and traders had called off a bandh which was to be held on February 17,” Mr. Manpade said.

He said that the farmers’ and trade organisations would not relent till the government increased the MSP. The State government had promised to increase the present MSP of Rs. 3,850 a quintal to Rs. 4,000, which was unacceptable to the farmers as it would not mitigate their problems. “The average farmer spends Rs. 19,000 to produce 3 quintals of red gram, and even if the Centre fixed the MSP at Rs. 5,000, farmers would still face considerable loss,” he added.

Mr. Manpade said that leaders of the organisations would visit Bidar and Raichur districts to enlist support for the agitations. “There is still time for the government to increase the MSP, as farmers were still reluctant to sell their produce. Out of the 18 lakh quintals of red gram produced this year, only 2 lakh quintals had been sold so far,” he added.

Mr. Manpade said that the Union government, besides increasing the, MSP should constitute a Red Gram Board on the lines of the Coffee Board.

The 10 per cent excise duty imposed on imported red gram was insufficient and should be increased to 50 per cent to stabilise prices in the local markets.

  • ‘Average farmer spends Rs. 19,000 to produce three quintals of red gram’

  • There is still time for the governments to increase the MSP for red gram: sangha president