VJAS plea to poll panel to relax code for Framer's relief
NAGPUR: Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), an advocacy group fighting for the cause of cotton growers of the region, has urged the state election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan to relax the code of conduct imposed for the municipal council elections so that the state government could announce a relief package for farmers.
Last week chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had put on hold decision to announce a compensation package for cotton growers citing the state election commission directives. Chavan, while stressing that he was sympathetic to the plight of the cotton growers who have suffered heavy crop losses in several pockets of Vidarbha, Marathwada expressed helplessness as the election commission had not allowed any policy announcement because of the code that was in force for the December 8 elections to 196 municipal councils in the state.
VJAS president Kishore Tiwari in a petition filed before the state election body has requested Satyanarayan to relax the model code and allow the state to extend relief to the cotton growers who were in serious state of distress because of crop losses. The VJAS has requested Chavan to pay compensation of Rs20,000 per hectare as difference in current purchase price and the actual cost of cotton cultivation.
Pointing out that over a 1000 farmers have already committed suicide in the current year in the cotton belt, Tiwari has urged the poll panel chief that reports were submitted with the government from time to time warning of the impending crisis.
Tiwari has said in the plea that cotton procurement prices have not been revised substantially in last three years though input costs, including prices of seeds, fertilizers, labour costs had increased by about 40%. Several committees including the Narendra Jadhav committee had recommended urgent relief for dry land cotton farmers of the state but the government had failed to act on the reports. "After our meeting with the CM recently, the government had formulated a compensation package, But it was put on hold because of the model code of conduct," Tiwari said in the petition.
He has made a forceful plea to the panel to relax the code as a special case so that the government could announce succour to the distressed cotton growers on the lines of those offered to sugarcane growers of western Maharashtra. A relief package would go a long way in checking the unending suicides by farmers.