Shiv Sena to back crop price hike issue:VJAS -TIMES OF INDIA
NAGPUR: The Shiv Sena is likely to support in a big way the demand for raising minimum support prices of cotton, soyabean and paddy. The party president Uddhav Thackeray gave this assurance to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishore Tiwari during their three-hour meeting at Matoshri earlier this week.
"The Sena is a very important constituent of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government and is interested in bringing to an end the agrarian crisis in regions like Vidarbha, Marathwada and Khandesh where over a 90 lakh farmers carry on dryland farming facing difficult situations every year," said Tiwari. In fact, a day later on Thursday when the Sena executive president addressed his party meeting in Mumbai, he specifically exhorted elected leaders of the party to latch on to the agrarian crisis in the state.
Thackeray has also directed his party's recently-elected MPs to study the matter in depth and make proper presentation to the Modi government so that a special package is designed in the impending Union budget for rain-fed farmers. "In Lok Sabha election campaign, Modi had talked about the need to address Vidarbha farmers' perennial problems. I told Thackeray that the prime cause of unending suicide among farmers in Vidarbha was that the three main crops of cotton, soyabean and paddy did not fetch remunerative prices," Tiwari said.
Even from its earlier regime, the NDA had supported the idea of 50% profits over the input costs in farming. Going by this concept, cotton MSP should be fixed at Rs6,800 a quintal, soyabean around Rs5,400 and paddy at Rs3,200. Moreover, the government procurement agencies should be given enough funds to stay in market along with private traders.
"If the farmer gets good income from these crops, he would be able to meet the health, education and social needs of the family. Inability to meet these rising costs drive farmer to suicide as earnings are too low from the current prices. The previous UPA government raised cotton MSP barely by Rs50 a quintal and that of soya and paddy by similar sums dashing all hopes of farmers," said Tiwari. He was hopeful that the Sena would not take up these issues mainly with an eye on the upcoming state elections.