Farmers protest against poor MSP

The visiting Union Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar got a taste of farmers’ ire when a number of cotton cultivators protested over the poor support price fixed by the Central government, at a meeting he addressed here on Friday.

Farmers attending the ‘Telangana Cotton Farmers’ Meet’ organised by BJP got impatient when none of the speakers focussed on the Minimum Support Price, which apparently was a major concern for them. After address by another Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, a section of farmers who arrived from Atmakur of Warangal district, stood up and began to protest.

“We were getting better price from traders before the Cotton Corporation of India came into picture. Now, the CCI officials colluded with middlemen,” they shouted out, and demanded an MSP of Rs.5,000-5,200 per quintal.

A social activist from Adilabad district, K. Karunakar Reddy, reminded of NDA’s poll promise of 50 per cent over and above the cost of cultivation, and said the cost exceeds Rs.70,000 per acre. This, apart from the ineffective crop insurance, is the main reason behind majority of suicides among cotton farmers. Another major complaint was about the nexus between CCI officials and middlemen. The CCI officials reject the produce citing inferior quality, but the same sold to middlemen for half the price is accepted without murmur, many farmers complained. They also aired concerns about the inordinate time wasted at market yard.

Mr. Gangwar said there were no complaints about MSP from cotton farmers of Gujarat and Maharashtra which occupy the first two places in terms of production. Nevertheless, he promised to lead a delegation to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister over the issue. A special control room will be set up at CCI corporate office in Mumbai, where the farmers may lodge their complaints, he assured. He urged all the farmers to open bank accounts so as to receive online payments, to rule out delay in payments. He said, this year, the government is looking towards international markets for cotton, as Pakistan and China are not exporting. He assured that efforts will be made to start cotton procurement from October 10-11 onwards, and the same will go on as long as cotton is brought to the Centre. He congratulated the farmers over increased production of cotton, even while all over the country the cultivation has come down. CMD of CCI B.K. Mishra said officials resorting to unscrupulous practices will be suspended if a complaint is lodged in local police station against them. This year, three officials of procurement centres were suspended.

Union Ministers Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Bandaru Dattatreya face the ire of cotton cultivators

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 9:15:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/farmers-protest-against-poor-msp/article7718018.ece

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