Relief at last for Prakasam social forestry planters

Govt. concedes key demands after two years of protest

Published - December 02, 2017 12:16 am IST - ONGOLE

Good tidings:  Farm workers busy segregating subabul logs in Ongole.

Good tidings: Farm workers busy segregating subabul logs in Ongole.

Social forestry growers, who have been agitating for the last two years for a remunerative price, now have a reason to smile as the State government has conceded a majority of their demands.

“We have been agitating for fixing a uniform purchase price across the State for subabul and eucalpytus logs and also allow traders to compete with paper mills within the State and outside to create buoyancy in the market. It is heartening that the government has agreed to both the demands,” Prakasam District Development Forum president Ch. Ranga Rao says while referring to the government’s decision to do away with the district-wise pricing policy by withdrawing GOs 143 and 493.

Periodic review

“We are thankful to the government for giving a listening ear also to our demand for a periodic review of the prices offered by paper mills and traders,” Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam District Secretary Vadde Hanuma Reddy says, adding that the paper mills were allegedly bypassing the Agriculture Market Committees (AMCs) and purchasing logs at a lesser price through brokers from farmers.

Social forestry growers were up in arms against the paper mills for allegedly hammering prices of eucalyptus and subabul to press their demand for restoring the pre-eminent position of the AMCs and sale of logs only through AMC-designated weigh bridges.

‘Break monopoly’

The government should take full responsibility for facilitating sale through the AMCs and bring paper mills and traders in large numbers to break the present lack of competition with only a few paper mills in the State ruling the roost, says YSR Congress Party ryots’ wing president Marreddy Subba Reddy.

The government, which brokered the agreement between paper mills and farmers on the market price at periodic intervals, should also take responsibility for ensuring that it is implemented by paper mills , Congress ryots’ wing president V. Rajagopala Reddy says.

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