YSRC MP Y.V. Subba Reddy has urged the Tobacco Board to introduce a scheme to help tobbaco growers switch over to alternative crops.
Chairing the Prakasam district Vigilance and Monitoring Committee meeting on Thursday, he shared the concerns expressed by TDP MP Sriram Malyadri and MLAs over the spate of suicides by tobacco ryots in the wake of the slump in prices for the key commercial crop in Prakasam district. “The compensation of Rs. 2,000 per quintal of tobacco, which was announced by the Union Commerce Ministry, had disappointed growers, as it covered only select varieties of low-grade tobacco,” Mr. Subba Reddy said.
He also demanded that the district administration organise a meeting of officials of the Tobacco Board. “Farmers in the district will have to switch over to other crops in about one lakh acres this year,” YSRC MLA from Kandukur Pothula Rama Rao said and wanted the Centre to announce a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh per barn for farmers who were willing to quit tobacco cultivation altogether.
Vigilance and Monitoring Committee Co-chairman and TDP MP from Bapatla Sriram Malyadri said it was not just tobacco growers who were in trouble. “Those who had grown cotton, oil palm and other crops suffered because of the poor prices for their produce,” he added.
He also pressed for the implementation of the recommendations of the panel headed by noted Agriculture Scientist M.S. Swaminathan. Meanwhile, the houses of about 5,000 people’s representatives in the rural local bodies in Prakasam district were found without individual sanitary latrines(ISLs).