Kerala opposition leaders slam CPI-M on harvesters issue

March 19th, 2008 - 11:42 pm ICT by admin  

Kuttanad (Kerala) March 19 (IANS) Kerala opposition leaders Wednesday lambasted the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for opposing the use of machines for harvesting paddy that has resulted in huge loss to farmers. In a symbolic act, the opposition leaders stood on top of a harvesting machine that was driven into a paddy field for harvesting the crop.

A large number of activists of the CPI-M and its front organisation Kerala State Karshaka Thozilali (agricultural labourers) Union (KSKTU) looked on as Congress leaders Oomen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala, K.M. Mani, K.C. Joseph and several legislators took their position on the harvesting machine.

Farmers here are up in arms against the attitude of the CPI-M and its front organization for opposing the use of machines for harvesting paddy.

Unseasonal summer rains since last week have damaged the standing crops and the opposition parties claim that farmers in Alapuzha district alone have suffered a loss of Rs.250 million.

“The CPI-M is fully responsible for the huge loss to the farmers here. This would not have occurred if they had allowed the use of machines on time,” said Chandy, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, just before getting on to the machine.

“The CPI-M has been playing spoil sport and has been using the working class to finish off the farming community in Kuttanad. This should never happen again,” said Chennithala, state Congress president.

Local legislator Babu Prasad said that farmers have been pleading with CPI-M and KSKTU to allow use machinery to harvest the crop on account of severe shortage of agricultural labourers.

But Chief Minister V.S.Achuthanandan dismissed the tactics of the opposition as cheap gimmicks. “They are engaged in a false propaganda because it was decided long time back that machines will be used in areas where sufficient farm labourers are not available,” he said.

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