Special package sought for tribals

Making a point:CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP Brinda Karat addressing a press conference at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. Party district secretary Ch.Narsinga Rao, MP P. Madhu and former MP M.Babu Rao are seen. —   | Photo Credit: Photo:C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Staff Reporter

MFP pricing is biased, says Brinda Karat

VISAKHAPATNAM: Expressing concern over the adverse impact on tribal livelihoods due to pricing policy of minor forest produce, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP Brinda Karat has demanded a special package for tribal communities to save their economy in distress, and tribals from malnutrition.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, she said while farmers were given packages for debt relief, drought and floods, tribal economy in deep distress was not getting such a package. The package should address the issue of housing, giving them money in time to prevent borrowing, special schemes for tribal women self-help groups, component for loss of livelihood in the collection of MFP and fair price to it. The MFP pricing was biased, leaving traders with big profit margins.

Ms. Karat is on a four-day tour of Andhra Pradesh, the first State she is visiting to study tribal conditions, in the run-up to a national convention on tribal rights to be organised by the party in New Delhi in June. The other States that are to be covered are West Bengal, Kerala, Tripura, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. The focus of her visit in the north coastal region of Andhra Pradesh is on the price of cashew nut and tendu leaves and bauxite mining. The MP said a minimum support price should be announced for MFP and the Central Government should direct resource allocation programmes to solve tribal problems. The Girijan Co-operative Corporation should play its role.

Probe sought

To ensure food security to tribals, who were deprived of BPL benefits because they have land, they should be given 35 kg of rice at Rs.2 a kg, she demanded. Ms. Karat said the implementation of the Tribal Rights Act was poor in several States. Even in Andhra Pradesh where 90 per cent implementation was claimed, it was not so.

The MP demanded a judicial inquiry into the communal incidents in Hyderabad.

She said the violence was a matter of deep concern as the city had not seen communal conflagration for decades now.

The miscreants should not be spared, she said and appealed for peace.