March 2018
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No farmer suicides in Kerala: VS Sunil Kumar
(Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 14, 2018): The ruling CPI(M) today rejected the allegation by Opposition that farmer suicides were on the rise in the state due to 'wrong policies' of the LDF government.

The problems reportedly faced by farmers owing to fall in price of their products and indebtedness was raised in the assembly by Kerala Congress(M) leader K M Mani, who alleged that farmer suicides were on the rise in the state due to the 'wrong policies' of the present government.

Replying to a notice for the adjournment motion on the issue, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar explained the various steps taken by the state government in favour of farmers and said "the government is committed to ensure that no farmer ends his life in the state."

Kumar pointed out that none of them had ended their life due to issues pertaining to farming and indebtedness.

Turning the table on the Opposition, Sunil Kumar said they were exaggerating the situation and alleged that during the previous UDF rule 61 farmers had taken the extreme step due to distress.

On the issues faced by rubber growers in the state, the minister said the Centre has set up a joint task force to study and suggest both short and long term remedies to resolve their problems.

Both the Congress-led UDF and KC(M) asked the LDF government to write off the farm loans, a demand put forward by the CPI(M) in Maharashtra during its recent 'Long March' of farmers in that state.

The CPI(M) had demanded that the farm loans be waived in Maharashtra, but "I want to know whether CPI-M led LDF government will write off farm loans in the state," Mani said.

Challenging the LDF government to write off the farm loans, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said, "The state government's love for farmers was only in paper and not in action."

The house witnessed trade off between the CPI(M)-led LDF and Opposition members over the farmers suicide in the state.

Members of the UDF Opposition and KC-M staged a walk out in protest against the refusal for a debate on the reported crisis in the farming sector.

Later, while replying to a submission, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said both paddy and coconut, two major crops, of the state were getting reasonable price.

There was an increase in the price of natural rubber also, he said.

However, there were problems in the agriculture sector as other products were not getting price in accordance with the cost of production.

The rise in the price of fertilisers and fall in price of products due to import as part of Centre's policy have also affected the sector, he pointed out.

The Centre had taken a 'negative stand' on the demand of MP's from the state to regulate rubber import and hike duty on import of rubber, Chief Minister said.

The state government had taken several steps to increase investments in the agriculture sector.

An amount of Rs 2,908.91 crores has been earmarked for the sector this year, which was more than the Rs 1,756.24 crore allotted by the UDF during its last year in office, he noted.

Vijayan also made it clear that the government would not support any move to seize properties and destroy the lives of farmers in the name of revenue recovery proceedings.(PTI)

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