People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 52

December 26, 2010

 

ORISSA

 

Rulers Remain Callous To Peasantsí Distress: AIKS

 

THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has expressed its solidarity with the distress-stricken peasants of Orissa who have been reeling under extreme drought and floods that have hit the state over the last few months in quick succession. While nearly 60 per cent of the state was affected by the drought earlier, the recent floods, which have afflicted the state, have totally devastated the paddy crop that was nearing harvest. The Orissa government has not lived up to the expectations of the peasantry and has announced a very meagre compensation for the losses. The compensation announced is Rs 2,000 per hectare for the unirrigated lands, Rs 4,000 per hectare for the irrigated land and Rs 6,000 per hectare for the perennial crops.

 

Describing these amounts as a pittance in a statement issued from New Delhi on December 14 by its president S Ramachandran Pillai and general secretary K Varadha Rajan, the AIKS said these amounts do not cover even 10 per cent of the costs incurred by the paddy farmers. The state government has announced a bonus of merely Rs 100 per quintal of paddy over the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,030 per quintal but is using the Fair Average Quality (FAQ) argument to deny the farmers of any benefits. The Congress-led UPA government has also turned a blind eye to the demands of the peasantry and both the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) that is ruling the state and the Congress are indulging only in blame game and politics of one-upmanship while the peasants are facing acute distresses. The AIKS has condemned this callous attitude on the part of both the state and central governments when the lives of millions of people are at stake.

 

In such a situation, the AIKS has demanded that the compensation must be at least Rs 25,000 per hectare for the unirrigated paddy land, Rs 50,000 per hectare for the irrigated paddy land and Rs 60,000 for a hectare of the perennial crops. It has also demanded that sharecropper must be recognised as a peasant and compensated for the losses they have suffered.  

 

Other AIKS demands are as below:

 

1) There must be complete waiver of the loans taken by the farmers during the last one year.

2) They must be provided interest free loans and subsidised inputs for the rabi season.

3) The MSP for paddy must be at least Rs 1,700 per quintal and the government must procure the crop without using the FAQ argument that aims to deprive the peasants of fair prices.

4) Stringent action must be taken against the rice millers who are taking advantage of the distress situation and lack of public procurement to purchase paddy at nearly 50 per cent of the present MSP.

5) Every employable adult must get employment for at least for 200 days in a year.

 

At the same time, the Orissa Krushak Sabha, the state affiliate of the AIKS, called for a state level dharna on December 16 and simultaneous protest actions in all the districts. The Krushak Sabha said it would stand by the peasantry in the state and make its best efforts to mitigate their sufferings in this hour of crisis.