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Congress demands Special Assembly session on farmers

Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Monday demanded that the State Government immediately convene a special session of Assembly and Council to discuss the farmers’ issue as they are heading towards a crop failure for the third consecutive time.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress Legislature Party office, along with MLC Ranga Reddy, Shabbir Ali expressed displeasure over Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao skipping the farmers’ issue in his Independence Day speech. “The Chief Minister did not mention anything about over 1,000 farmers who committed suicide. He completely skipped the subject and gave no assurance to those who lost their crops or those committed suicide. There was also no response on demand for increase in ex-gratia as per GO 421,” he said.

“KCR could not speak for even 14 minutes on his 14-month rule. His short speech is a silent confession of his failure to run the administration. He did not speak anything on the promises that he made from Golconda Fort last year. While a few Dalit families were given pattas for 3-acre of land last year, KCR failed to provide statistics on how many Dalit families benefitted from the scheme in the last one year. The promises of 2 BHK houses, KG to PG free education and 12% reservation for Muslims and STs too failed to find a mention in the CM’s speech,” he said adding that I-Day speech was the shortest ever speech delivered by KCR since he became the Chief Minister.

Shabbir Ali said that the Congress party was highly disappointed with KCR’s speech as he did not speak anything about the agrarian crisis and the possible shortage of food grains in the State. Due to bad weather conditions and mishandling of sector by the TRS Government, Telangana farmers lost three consecutive crops. The drastic cut in sowing area during the last three seasons had a negative impact on overall production and Telangana is heading towards acute shortage of food grains, pulses and other products.

“Let’s set aside political differences and sit down for a while to find solutions to the problems being faced by the farmers. Continuous decrease in agriculture production will directly affect the people and might lead to abnormal increase in prices of all essential commodities,” Shabbir Ali said. He informed that he was writing a letter to the Chief Minister to press for his demand for a Special Assembly session.

The Congress leader pointed out that despite identifying 332 out of 459 mandals as rain deficient last year, the Telangana Government failed to declare drought hit mandals. As per the Drought Manual, 103 mandals qualified to be declared as ‘Drought Hit’. But due to lethargic attitude of the government, the list was not sent to the Centre. Five other States, including Andhra Pradesh, got financial assistance from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for the drought-hit districts. The Centre provided Rs. 237.51 crore to Andhra Pradesh for seven drought-hit districts. Telangana too would have got similar assistance if it would have had declared the drought-hit districts, he said.

Shabbir Ali also ridiculed the ‘Gram Jyothi’ scheme, launched by the Chief Minister on Monday, and said KCR should have instead conducted Rythu Sadassus. “We will extend full cooperation, if KCR takes any steps to help the farmers,” he said adding that the government should first clarify whether it has shelved or replaced ‘Mana Vuru, Mana Pranalika’ with ‘Gram Jyothi’.

The Congress leader said it was strange that KCR has time to inspect police and garbage lifting vehicles, but he is not free to hold review meeting on farmers. (INN)