Kerala legislators trade charges over failed crop

March 17th, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 17 (IANS) Unexpected summer showers have ruined paddy harvest in Kuttanad region in Kerala but the political parties are busy trading charges with one another. The issue rocked the state assembly Monday when the speaker refused to let an adjournment motion be tabled when Congress member Babu Prasad raised the issue of failed crop.

Several opposition members were seen waving bunches of paddy plants as both treasury and opposition benches traded charges with one another.

The opposition Congress blamed the Left parties for stopping the farmers from using machines to harvest the crop, and said that led to delay and hence the loss.

“It is sad that the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) and its feeder organization the Kerala State Karshaka Thozilali Union (KSKTU) stood as a stumbling block. Farmers have been running from office to office of the CPI-M and KSKTU to get a clearance to use machinery to harvest the crop on account of severe shortage of agricultural labourers to harvest the crop,” said Prasad.

“The machines that came from Tamil Nadu on lorries were stopped by these (CPI-M) workers and the drivers beaten up when they started to unload these heavy equipment meant for harvesting. The harvest was supposed to take place on March 5 and these people did not allow it and since last week the heavy rains have practically ruined the excellent crop,” said Prasad.

State Agricultural Minister Mulakara Ratnakaran said unexpected rains cannot be blamed on the ruling party.

“Isn’t it natural that when rains come, there would be a delay in harvesting. We are examining all the issues and we will examine to compensate the farmers,” said Ratnakaran.

After staging a walkout, four opposition legislators went on a protest sit-in for the entire day in the foyer of the assembly.

Meanwhile, Alapuzha District Collector V.K. Balakrishnan after visiting the paddy fields in Kuttanad Monday told reporters that the farmers would incur a loss of Rs.15 million because of the unseasonal rains.

Later, Leader of Opposition Oomen Chandy led a team of all opposition parties to Kuttanad to inspect the submerged paddy fields.

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