Vidarbha farmers urge PM to sack union textile minister
YAVATMAL: With the cotton crisis in Vidarbha escalating, cotton growers have urged Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to sack Union textile minister and textile tycoon Dayanidhi Maran immediately. The farmers have said that only such a step will rescue the over five million dying farmers of the state.
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari has said that Maran is squarely responsible for the worsening cotton crisis. He has demanded his sacking and registration of cases under the Indian Penal Code.
Maran has restricted the exports of cotton to 55 lakh bales as against the earlier permission of 84 lakh bales in the previous year.
Tiwari said that the Union government under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is making hectic efforts to give a new lease of life to debt-ridden farmers of Vidarbha. However, vested interests have taken a rigid and arbitrary decision to ban exports of cotton bales beyond 55 lakh, even though there is a bumper crop and competitive international market price, he said.
He has argued for a lenient policy, which enables farmers to export maximum quantity of cotton to international markets, which would help improve the farmers' crumbling financial condition.
Tiwari pointed out that local private traders and their touts, funded by greedy money lenders, have already ensured that local market price of cotton has gone down from Rs 6,500 to a Rs 2,200 per quintal in recent days.
The social worker has said that the bumper crop this year, coupled with bad climatic condition and poor production in neighbouring cotton growing countries, had ensured a comparatively high price from the beginning of this procurement season.
With this in mind, cotton growers had opted to hold cotton in stock instead of selling it, in anticipation of a higher price. However, unscrupulous private traders have brought down the price deliberately.
"Hundreds of cotton farmers and farm widows have decided to march to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister and UPA convener Sonia Gandhi and urge intervention to resolve the artificial crisis created by vested interests of the mighty textile lobby," Kishore Tiwari has said.