Farmers protest fertilizer shortage in Andhra Pradesh

June 13th, 2008 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 13 (IANS) Farmers in different parts of Andhra Pradesh took to the streets Friday to protest the shortage of fertilizers and seeds, but the government maintained that there was no shortage of these agricultural commodities. Farmers blocked roads, laid siege to government offices and held demonstrations in some districts, protesting the shortage of fertilizers and demanded that the government take immediate steps to address the problem.

A group of farmers attacked government-run market committee office and a bank in Vikarabad in Ranga Reddy district. At Chevella in the same district, farmers blockaded roads.

Similar protests were also held in Nizamabad, Guntur and Anantapur districts. The opposition parties have also backed the protest by farmers.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) announced a two-day protest from Saturday over the problems faced by farmers and to demand hike in minimum support price (MSP) for paddy to take it to Rs.1,000 per quintal.

The central government Friday hiked the MSP by Rs.105 to Rs.850 per quintal for this year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have also demanded hike in the MSP for paddy.

Various farmers’ organisations decided to make a last representation to Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to prevail upon the central government to hike the MSP to Rs.1,000.

“If the government fails to concede our demand, we will launch state-wide agitation,” said Prabhakar Reddy, leader of a farmers’ organization.

Meanwhile, the chief minister said there absolutely no shortage of fertilizers in the state. He said the fertilizers of all grades would be made available to the farmers as and when needed. “There is no need to panic,” said a statement from the chief minister’s office.

He, however, warned that the government would take stringent action against fertilizer dealers creating artificial shortage, hoarding or blackmarketing of the fertilizers.

While releasing the agricultural action plan for 2008-09 Wednesday, the chief minister had admitted that there was shortage of fertilizers but assured to take all steps for sufficient supply. He had said the delay in import of required chemicals led to the situation.

The state has set a target of 20 million tonnes of food grains production this year, against 19.1 million tonnes during 2007-08.

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