COMMITTEE REPORT IMMEDIATELY'
A MASSIVE rally of farmers in Guntur resolved to carry out an all India struggle of the peasantry and other toiling sections until the anti-farmer and anti-people policies of the Congress-led UPA-II government are reversed. The rally adopted a 'Guntur Declaration' which demanded immediate implementation of the M S Swaminathan Committee Report that had recommended liberal credit to farmers at 4 per cent interest. A new organisation will be formed at the national level shortly to coordinate this struggle.
The public meeting titled Rytu Kosam (for farmer) was held on December 30, 2010 in the backdrop of the struggle launched by TDP and Left parties in Andhra Pradesh for providing relief to farmers who were devastated by the recent unseasonal rains damaging much of the kharif crop. National leaders of non-Congress, non-BJP parties attended the meeting. TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu, former prime minister and JD(S) president H D Deve Gowda, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI deputy general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy, INLD president Om Prakash Chautala, RLD president Ajit Singh, former chief minister of Jharkhand and JVP president, Babulal Marandi, RSP leader Abani Roy, Forward Bloc leader Devarajan, MDMK leader Ganesh Murty addressed the gathering. State leaders of TDP, CPI (M), CPI, CPI-ML New Democracy, Lok Satta party were also present.
Proclaiming the massive rally of farmers today in Guntur as a harbinger of a countrywide struggle to save the peasantry from the ruinous policies of central and other state governments, the top leaders lambasted the Congress party for totally neglecting the agriculture sector. Deve Gowda warned that no ruling dispensation has survived the wrath of farmers who have been a neglected lot. He said the latest mid term appraisal report showed that agriculture was growing at a mere 2.6 per cent while the target was 4.8 per cent. This highlights the total neglect of this all important sector that is the mainstay of livelihood for over 70 per cent of our population. Both the NDA and UPA regimes neglect of this crucial sector has resulted in the shameful tragedy of nearly 2.16 lakh farmers committing suicide in the country. He called upon the farmers to rise up in revolt against these governments instead of resorting to the extreme step of committing suicides.
Prakash Karat in his speech called for building up a united struggle by rallying the peasantry against the ruinous anti-people policies of the central and Andhra Pradesh state government in order to save the farmers and agriculture. He noted the distressing spectacle of scores of farmers committing suicides in AP due to the recent crop losses and criticised the state government for not doing anything worthwhile for the relief of affected farmers. With 2414 suicides in 2009, AP stands third in position out of the total 17,800 in the country during the year as per government of India figures itself. The wrong policies of the state and central governments have created a situation today where every section of peasantry, the landowners, the tenants, the agricultural workers etc are in losses. He criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's response of citing lack of funds when they met him on this issue during the fast undertaken by Chandrababu Naidu. “ If the Rs 1.72 lakh crore of money lost in 2G scam had gone into government coffers, every farmer could have been provided Rs 10,000 input subsidy per acre”, he said. Karat asserted that the struggle against these ruinous policies will be continued along with like-minded parties in the coming days.
CPI deputy general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy punched holes in the government's argument of not having enough money to give to the distressed farmers by citing how each year around 2.5 lakh crores of rupees are given away as tax concessions to the corporate sector and how lakhs of crores of rupees black money is lying stashed away in Swiss banks. He termed the central government 'corrupt' and the state government 'inefficient' and called upon people to rally against these policies.
Chandrababu Naidu in his long speech lambasted the state government for utter disregard to the grave suffering of farmers in the state. Hundreds of deaths, in suicides and heart attacks, following the crop damages have not moved the government, whose leaders are still busy in looting public money. He said this meeting sends out the message to farmers not only in AP but across the country that they are not alone in their struggle. He read out the salient demands of the Guntur Declaration, which are as follows:
Implement Swaminathan Committee Report immediately.
To make agriculture viable, link the produce prices to the input prices.
There should be separate budget for agriculture in state and central governments.
Increase funding for agricultural infrastructure and research.
Liberal amounts of credit to farmers at 3 per cent interest.
Recording of tenant farmers, who belong mostly to SC, ST and BC sections.
Special policy and funds to artisans whose livelihood has been shattered due to globalisation policies.