Tuesday, 22 November 2011

All eyes on cotton meet called by CM today-TIMES OF INDIA



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Farm activist and Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari has already met the chief minister on Sunday and suggested that a subsidy of Rs20,000 per hectare for cotton and Rs15,000 for soya be paid to farmers to compensate for 40% loss of crop this year.
"Crop damage has burdened farmers who have already spent 40% more on inputs this season, including labour costs and fertilizer," said Tiwari. "But I am sceptical about any package. I am told the bureaucrats are asking the CM to announce a paltry relief of Rs1,000 per acre. This will be too little, too late and only fuel the farmer suicide crisis in Vidarbha," warned Tiwari.

NAGPUR: As the clamour for higher support price for cotton reaches a crescendo, chief ministerPrithviraj Chavan has called an all-party meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
He will be clearly under pressure to come out with a relief package, since even ruling party leaders are in favour of hike in MSP. The main argument is that cotton production cost this year was much higher that the minimum support price offered by the government.
"How long can farmers go on with a losing proposition as his occupation," asked BJP state president Sudhir Mungantiwar. Talking to TOI before leaving for the Mumbai meeting, he said, "There is no scope for play of words. The state government has no alternative but to provide succour to farmers dying by the hundreds every month because of economic stress. The state's Krishi Mulya Nirdhar Samiti has given Rs4,200 as cost of production per quintal of cotton, how can the state announced MSP of Rs3,300," he asked.
He said that besides cotton his party would also seek a higher remunerative price for paddy (Rs2,500 a quintal) and soyabean (Rs3,000).
State cotton federation chairman and NCP leader NP Hirani has been vehemently demanding Rs6,000 as MSP. "I will be attending the meeting as a farmer's representative and seek a remunerative price," the leader from cotton belt of Pusad told TOI.
The government has no choice now but to compensate losses suffered by cotton cultivators, he added. "There is no question of raising MSP at this stage, because small and needy farmers have already sold around 20 lakh quintals of produce. They will be the losers now."
"Moreover, if they announce MSP higher than current market price of Rs4,300 to 4,500, it will be suicidal for the government as farmers and traders from neighbouring states will also flood procurement centres here. So, the best way out would be a blanket relief package for all cotton growers at a rate of say Rs6,000 a quintal per acre. Moreover, farmers will also need to be protected from any further collapse in open market rates in the coming days. Traders are known to manipulate the situation to their advantage and government should protect interests of farmers," said Hirani.
Farmers from other states, say in Gujarat or Punjab, are not seeking higher price because cotton yields there are much higher. Though Maharashtra has the highest crop area in the country under cotton its yield is lowest. As compared to Gujarat's high of 20 quintals a hectare, it's as low as 10 in state.
Farm activist and Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari has already met the chief minister on Sunday and suggested that a subsidy of Rs20,000 per hectare for cotton and Rs15,000 for soya be paid to farmers to compensate for 40% loss of crop this year.
"Crop damage has burdened farmers who have already spent 40% more on inputs this season, including labour costs and fertilizer," said Tiwari. "But I am sceptical about any package. I am told the bureaucrats are asking the CM to announce a paltry relief of Rs1,000 per acre. This will be too little, too late and only fuel the farmer suicide crisis in Vidarbha," warned Tiwari.

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