New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the issue of alleged suicides by farmers hit by natural calamities in Andhra Pradesh would be looked into.
The assurance was given by the Prime Minister to a delegation of seven opposition parties which met him to draw his attention to the plight of farmers in the southern state, CPI leader AB Bardhan told the reporters after the meeting.
The delegation also handed over to him a letter from TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu describing the condition of untimely rain and cyclone-hit farmers in the state, he said.
Naidu has been on an indefinite hunger strike demanding adequate relief to farmers in the state.
Singh assured the delegation that a decision would be taken after an official team visiting the state to assess the situation submits its report, added Burdhan.
"The PM said he will consider all these. An official team has been sent for the assessment. Let them come back. Then they will take a decision," he said.
The Prime Minister also asked the delegation comprising leaders from parties including the CPI(M), CPI, TDP, JD(S), RLD, AIADMK and MDMK to "convey" his sympathy to Naidu, who continues his hunger strike in a hospital in Hyderabad.
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said the delegation told the Prime Minister that the Centre should intervene as the situation in the state was very serious with "137 farmers having committed suicide so far."
"This is something which cannot afford any bureaucratic delay," Karat said and blamed the "callous" approach towards the farmers by both the Centre and the state government.
She said the delegation told the Prime Minister that the Rs 400 crore advance package announced by him on Tuesday to provide succour to farmers is not enough, because the damage is "much much larger."
"The Prime Minister has been informed that the legitimate demand of the people of Andhra Pradesh is that the farmers should be given minimum Rs 10000 per acre to paddy, Rs 15000 per acre to other crops-- whether it is in Telangana region, in Rayalseema region or coastal Andhra as all the farmers are equally affected," Karat said.
Meanwhile, in his open letter, Naidu alleged that the state government has failed to infuse confidence and assure the farmers and other communities in the state.
"There is no respite in the number of suicides and the situation is quite alarming," Naidu said in his letter and appealed to the Prime Minister to "sympathetically consider the pitiable condition of farmers in the state" and to "personally intervene" to initiate policy measures to save the
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