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BJP takes up the farmers' cause
Onkar Singh in Dehradun | September 08, 2006 17:04 IST
M Venkaiah Naidu, former president of Bhartiya Janata Party, has demanded that the government of India form a joint parliamentary committee to study in depth the suicides by farmers in various parts of the country.
Addressing a press conference at the end of the second day of the three-day BJP National Executive, Naidu said the committee should find out the factual situation by visiting the affected families. "The members of the JPC should find out the actual and factual position by meeting the families of the farmers who were forced to commit suicide. And present a comprehensive report to the Parliament for discussions," Naidu said while presenting the resolution adopted by the party on the crisis in the nation's food security and on the farm front.
"The BJP is deeply concerned over the multi-dimensional crisis afflicting agriculture and food security in India. On one hand, the crisis has eroded the farm-based livelihood of our small and marginal kisans (farmers), and the landless mazadoors (workers), who constitute the bulk of India's rural population," he said.
He demanded that the United Progressive Alliance government implement medical insurance for the farmers including women. "Women farmers constitute 50 per cent of the working strength of farmers whether it is in tea gardens, paddy sowing and other activities," he said.
He charged the government for neglecting the Indian farmers and paying them a support price of Rs 650 per quintal for wheat as against Rs 950 spent on importing it to meet the food shortage.
He denied the allegation that BJP has now started talking of the interests of the farmers after it failed to return to power on the basis of its much-hyped India Shinning campaign. "We had taken a number of measures for the welfare of the farmers including the introduction of Kisan Credit Cards," he claimed.
He hit out at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for giving notional packages to states where farmers had committed suicides. "The UPA government's response to the suicides by the farmers has been insensitive to the point of being called callous. It took the prime minister two years after assuming office to find time to visit Vidharba. The special packages are notional and have been repackaged as special packages by including the money sanctioned to the states earlier," he said.
He asked the government to make sure that the agricultural land is not sold to private promoters. "Only non-agricultural land should be sold for private projects. Farmers should be made partners in these projects and if it is a housing project then he should be given a flat to live in and provision should be made to get him a livelihood," Naidu said.