Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy announced what he called the party's "Armoor Declaration" with three major promises for farmers.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N Uttam Kumar Reddy on Saturday unveiled the party's manifesto for farmers for the 2019 Telangana Assembly elections.
Addressing a "Rythu Sadassu", a massive public meeting in Aloor mandal of Armoor constituency in Nizamabad district, Reddy announced what he called the party's "Armoor Declaration" with three major promises for farmers.
If the Congress was voted to power in Telangana in the 2019 elections, he announced that crop loans up to Rs. 2 lakhs would be waived off in a single take, and within 100 days after the party came to power.
He also announced that the burden of crop insurance premiums would be taken off the farmers and the entire amount would be paid by the government. And a Market Intervention Fund of Rs. 5,000 crores would be set aside every year to procure the farm produce, Reddy said.
Reddy also announced minimum guaranteed prices for 17 crops. He promised Rs. 2,000 for paddy (Grade A) and regular; Rs. 6,000 for cotton (both high and medium quality); Rs. 2,000 for maize; Rs. 3,500 for soyabean; Rs. 7,000 for tur and green gram; Rs. 5,000 for groundnuts and sunflowers; Rs. 2,000 for millets and jowar (both hybrid and regular); Rs. 10,000 for chilli and turmeric; and Rs. 3,000 for lal jowar.
Reddy alleged that the TRS government had completely neglected the farmers during the last 40 months. The Rs. 1 lakh crop loan waiver scheme did not benefit the farmers as it was divided into four installments. Farmers remained trapped in debts for four years and the interest on the loans kept accumulating. Thousands of farmers were yet to come out of the interest burden which was uncleared by the TRS government, he said.
He said that the farmers did not get any relief from the Centre or the state government for the damages they suffered due to drought or unseasonal rains, either. Input subsidy was denied to farmers, and nearly 7 lakh farmers did not get any compensation under the crop insurance scheme, he said.
The TPCC chief also slammed the state government for its failure to control the sale of spurious seeds and fertilizers. He said that the government failed to take action against the fake seed companies, and instead of getting the affected farmers compensation, it backed those companies.
Reddy also said that Telangana had a budget of Rs. 5 lakh crores during the last four financial years, but not even Rs. 5 was spent on the procurement of agriculture produce. The chilli farmers of Khammam were implicated in false cases and handcuffed when they demanded remunerative prices, he said. Cotton farmers, too, faced harassment for asking for better prices. The Congress raised the issue in the Assembly and the Council, and also made representations to the Governor, but Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao did not wake up from his slumber to bail out the farmers, he alleged.
He also held the KCR government responsible for over 3,500 farmers' suicides, and alleged that not a single affected family had been extended any help by the government. While the neighbouring states provided bonuses in addition to MSP on various crops, the KCR government remained a mute spectator to the devastation that the farm sector had suffered during the last three-and-a-half years, he claimed.
"Through this 'Armoor Declaration', we assure all the farmers of Telangana that the day the Congress party comes to power in 2019 will be the last day of your sufferings. All sections, especially the farmers, had dreamt of a better life after the formation of Telangana, but KCR shattered all your dreams. He cheated everyone in the name of Bangaru Telangana and a created Bangaru Kutambam instead. For the TRS goverment, Telangana is all about KCR, and his son, daughter, nephew and other relatives," he said.
Reddy also promised that the next Congress Government would ensure that Goods & Services Tax (GST) was not applied to agriculture or allied sectors. He also promised that the Nizam Sugar Factory would be revived by involving the public, private or cooperative sectors.
The meeting was also addressed by former Assembly Speaker K R Suresh Reddy, Leader Of Opposition in the Council Shabbir Ali, MLA T Jeevan Reddy, MLC Akula Lalitha, AICC Secretary Madhu Yaskhi Goud, TPCC Kisan Cell chairman Kodanda Reddy, ex-minister Santosh Reddy, Nizamabad DCC President Taher Bin Hamdan and other leaders.