Staff Reporter

Farmers allege that vested interests are at work, plan stir

Say inclusion will help to solve farm crisis

To submit mass petition to State, Union Governments

ALAPPUZHA: The non-inclusion of Kerala in the recently launched National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is likely to snowball into a major agitation with the farmers’ organisations protesting against the move saying that inclusion of the State in the scheme can help solve the agrarian crisis here.

The Kuttanad Vikasana Samithy (KVS) is among the farmers’ organisations in Alappuzha which are planning an agitation demanding the State Government to put pressure on the Centre to include Kerala in the scheme.

“We are also contacting other farmers’ organisations based in Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts to join us in the struggle,” KVS executive director Fr. Thomas Peelianickal told mediapersons here on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, Fr. Peelianickal said Kerala was not included in the scheme even when it was producing a mere 15 per cent of the rice necessary for the State.

“Farmers will be eligible for a 50 per cent bank loan and 50 per cent Central subsidy if the State is part of the scheme. Kerala, which depends on other States for a major share of its requirement for rice, wheat and pulses, has been mysteriously left out of the scheme,” Fr. Peelianickal said, adding that the KVS had doubts of vested interests to turn Kerala forcibly into a market for products from other States.

“Under NFSM-Rice, 133 districts in 10 States will be covered while under NFSM-Wheat, 138 districts in nine States will be covered. Under NFSM-Pulses, 168 districts of 14 States will be covered. Even when so many districts are included, not even one district in Kerala, in spite of the ongoing agrarian crisis here, has not been covered and our political leaders are silent about this,” he said.

The KVS, along with other farmers’ organisations, will submit a mass petition to the State and Union Governments and convene a protest meeting of farmers from Kuttanad here on September 11, Fr. Peelianickal added.