TDP to agitate on urea price hike

Staff Reporter

‘The decision will hit foodgrains output’

VISAKHAPATNAM: Telugu Desam Politburo member and former Union minister Ummareddy Venkateswarlu has described the hike in urea price as unwarranted and a burden on farmers at a time when food security crisis is looming large. Besides increasing the price by Rs.26 a bag, the pricing of micronutrients was decontrolled, he said.

Mr. Venkateswarlu told reporters here on Friday that announcing the increase just before the budget session was undemocratic. The issue should have been discussed in Parliament with members of all parties before taking a decision. The TDP would agitate for the withdrawal of the hike and take up the issue in Parliament. Even as the decision on fertilizer was taken, the government announced Rs.800 crores equity infusion for Air India, he pointed out saying it reflected the government’s priorities.

Recalling that the President called for a second green revolution and the Swaminatham Committee appointed by the UPA government had cautioned against increasing the cost of inputs for agriculture, he said the steep hike would impinge upon the food security of the country.

Drop in stocks

The buffer foodgrain stocks that stood at 74 million tons in 2004 presently dropped to 23 million tons and the country was not in a position to face another lean year in foodgrain production. Losing its self-sufficiency of late, the country had been compelled to import wheat, pulses, edible and even rice and sugar.

Hike in fertilizer price would have some justification, if the government had implemented the Swaminathan Committee recommendations that minimum support price should be 50 per cent higher than the investment on the crop.

TDP district convener Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu and party leaders L. Bhaskara Rao, N. Anjaneya Raju and V. Ganesh Kumar were present.

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