TRS Govt must change its stand on farmers’ suicides: Shabbir Ali

Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir has strongly criticised the TRS Government for its stand on farmers’ suicides and asked it to change it to help the farming community.

Addressing a press conference, along with Kisan Cell Chairman M. Kodanda Reddy, at Gandhi Bhavan here on Saturday, Shabbir Ali compared the TRS Government to “Kumbhakaran” which woke up from its slumber of 15-months only after 1500 farmers committed suicide. However, he said that instead of admitting its mistake or extending assistance to the affected families, the TRS Ministers are trying to dilute the intensity by doing post-mortem of cases of farmers’ suicides. “They never visited the families of farmers who committed suicide. Now they are criticising my visit to the affected families. They did not do their job properly and now they have objections when I’m doing my job as the Opposition Leader,” he said.

Shabbir Ali condemned ministers Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and Tummala Nageshwara Rao for their recent statements on the issue of farmers’ suicide. He said that the TRS Ministers were looking at everything by wearing glasses of politics. Citing his visit to the family of Limbaiah in Ramareddy village of Nizamabad district, he said he visited his family as he was a farmer and committed suicide. He said he did not give any importance to the fact that Lingaiah’s sister was a MPTC member of TRS. He said financial assistance was provided as that family was in need of urgent help. He said politics over issues like suicides would cause more damage to the poor farmers and their families.

The Congress leader asked TRS leaders to explain what they did for the families of farmers who committed suicide. Although that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has recorded 1127 cases of farmers suicide based on FIRs, the TRS Government repeatedly denied those figures. While the government gave preference to purchase of new vehicles worth over Rs. 500 Crore for various departments, including Rs. 28 Crore to upgrade Chief Minsiter K. Chandrashekar Rao’s convoy, it did not provide any relief to the farmers. After continuous denials, the Agriculture Minister admitted of 409 suicides and extended assistance to only 166 farmers. “The TRS Government is ready to spend money on showoff and leisure, but it is hesitant to revise GO 421 to increase the compensation amount from Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh,” he said.

Shabbir Ali said everyone felt good when KCR provided treatment to Pratyusha, the girl who was tortured by her step-mother, invited her for lunch and also gave Rs. 5 lakh as assistance. However, he behaved differently when it came to farmers’ suicide. Did farmers, who killed self, had no families or daughters? Why the State Government is behaving in such an inhuman manner? I’m told that KCR has directed all his party men not to visit the farmers’ families,” he said.

He also criticised KCR’s China visit and said that the Chief Minister could not offer Telangana’s land to a country, which is not too friendly with India. Further, he said Telangana’s land and resources should be utilised for gain of local people and youth. They are not meant for free distribution among foreigners.

Shabbir Ali demanded that the State Government convene a special session of Assembly and Council to discuss the farmers’ issues. He said that the Congress party was willing to give in writing that it would not criticise the government. “We will give our suggestions and accept the best package for farmers. Everyone should unite on this issue to send a positive message and a specific assurance to the affected farmers that he was not alone. We must prevent further suicides,” he said.

Kodanda Reddy accused the Agriculture Minister of speaking lies on the issue of farmers’ suicide almost every day.

Meanwhile, Shabbir Ali demanded that the State Government take measures to prevent the spread of Swine Flu, Dengue, Malaria and other epidemics. He said that so far two deaths due to Swine Flu have been reported. Similarly, many tribal and rural areas were under the grip of Dengue and Malarial fever. He said immediate measures should be taken to prevent the spread of those diseases. He slammed the government for not releasing promised Rs. 100 crore each to Gandhi Hospital and Osmania General Hospital. Other hospitals too lack proper medicines, staff and equipment. He said all the hospitals should be upgraded at least to meet the present contingencies. (INN)