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Mainstream, VOL LV No 27 New Delhi June 24, 2017

Yechury’s Letter to PM on Farmers’ Plight

Saturday 24 June 2017, by Sitaram Yechury

Dear Pradhan Mantri Ji,

I am writing this letter to draw your attention to the plight of farmers across India, which has resulted in a high level of rural distress, including thousands of suicides by farmers in the past three years. There have been increasing protests by farmers in one State after another, which have been met by your silence and apathy while the State governments of your party have let the police loose on the poor farmers. Six farmers have lost their lives in police firing in Madhya Pradesh, and many have been seriously injured. Meanwhile, many continue to commit distress suicides, the latest such tragedy occurring in the CM’s own constituency.

The response of your party’s State Govern-ment in Maharashtra has been equally inconsi-derate and repressive towards the genuine pleas of the farmers. During my visit to Nashik, 15 months ago, when the Maharashtra farmers had blockaded the town, the CM called for nego-tiations and asked for six months to settle all the demands. Fifteen months have since passed, after which the peasantry decided to go on a unique form of struggle: a kisan strike. The past weekend’s negotiations follow from there. Even now the kisan organisations have warned that if this latest agreement is not honoured in letter and in spirit, then they will resume the agitation from July 26, 2017.

It is my duty to remind you, Mr Prime Minister, that during your election campaign, you had promised a Minimum Support Price that will provide a 50 per cent net profit to the farmer over his production costs. During the last three years, you have done nothing to fulfil this promise. The current MSP for various crops fixed by your government barely provides any returns to the farmer.

The two government agencies, FCI and NAFED, do not buy all the produce of the farmer, even at the existing MSP, forcing the farmer to distress sell his produce at a loss in the market.

Under these circumstances, I am writing to you to demand that your government introduce and pass a legislation in the forthcoming mon-soon session of Parliament which not only confers on farmers the Right to Sell at MSP, but also guarantees an automatic annual review of the MSP which will be, at least, 50 per cent more than the comprehensive production costs as established by the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) for that year.

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

Sitaram Yechury

June 15, 2017

New Delhi

Sitaram Yechury is the General Secretary, CPI-M.

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62