Farmers’ unions affiliated to the Left parties, as well as environmental activist organisations, have lashed out at the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in Chhattisgarh over procurement of paddy at higher prices.
The state government had locked horns with the Centre on the issue of procuring paddy at Rs 2,500 a quintal, higher than the minimum support price (MSP). While the Centre had denied the request, the Baghel government had launched a crusade against it, calling meetings of farmer unions and political parties on Tuesday to design a road map for future meetings. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had boycotted the meet.
Over a dozen farmers organisations, and civil and forest rights bodies affiliated to Left parties, had come out against the Chhattisgarh government. “The state government did not invite the unions affiliated to the Left parties. That shows its (lack of) commitment and sincerity in its fight against the Centre on farmers’ issue,” the organisations said in a joint statement.
They added that instead of a show-off, the Chhattisgarh government should have united all forces involved in farmers’ struggle at the ground level. “We do not support Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s demand to increase the procurement price of paddy to Rs 2500 per quintal; we want it increased to Rs 3,400 a quintal, as recommended by the Swaminathan commission,” the organisations said.
The farmer leaders said the state government’s decision to procure paddy from December 1 instead of November 15 had no convincing logic. “Because of the impractical decision, farmers have been deprived of a reasonable price for over a million tonnes of paddy; they have been forced to sell in the mandi at much lower rates,” the leaders added.