NDA govt 'insensitive' towards farmers cause, says Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday accused the BJP-led NDA government of being "insensitive" towards farmers as it is yet to register cases in the Mandsaur deaths and demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi break his silence on the crisis gripping the agriculture sector.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said even after nine days no one has been booked for the deaths six farmers in police firing Mandsaur.

"Nine days on, 45 FIRs against protesting farmers, but not one against those who murdered 6 farmers in cold blood? Mandsaur," tweeted Gandhi who is on vacation abroad.

The Congress party on its official Twitter handle said, "6 farmers killed in police firing in Mandsaur. Why are eye-witness statements not taken? Why is there no action against police officials?"

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma also hit out at the NDA government for showing "apathy and insensitivity" towards farmers and the agri sector.

"The farmers' issue is a matter of serious concern. This government is insensitive. An unannounced curfew has been imposed in Mandsaur. Other political parties are not allowed to enter the area. Till now, no case has been registered in the matter," Sharma said.

He said the Congress party advises the prime minister to take a break from his publicity campaign and give better attention to the serious business of governance.

Referring to the crop loan interest subvention scheme announced for farmers on Wednesday, the Congress leader said at best it was like "adding insult to injury".

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"It is a serious issue, the farmers are committing suicide but government is not doing anything and the prime minister is silent," he said.

Sharma said that just crop loan concession would not help and that the government needs to come forward with a comprehensive loan waiver scheme to resolve the crisis gripping the farm sector in the country.

He also termed as "height of insensitivity" of the government towards farmers after it officially justified its decision to reduce import duties from 25 percent during UPA rule to zero percent now on wheat.

Citing the government's reasons for this, the Congress leader said the government's statistics and figures contradict the claim that there was low production of wheat in 2016.

"There was no shortfall," he said, adding the government's argument was that traders in agricultural commodities in southern India say the cost of wheat coming from northern India is more and thus the import duty should be done away with so that wheat can be imported from Australia which would be cheaper.

He also said that the government has claimed that Indian wheat has gluten and allergens whereas wheat from Canada and Australia has no gluten.

"This is an illiterate statement. Wheat contains gluten irrespective of where it is produced. Only millets, Bajra are gluten-free. This government's ministers need education about what is gluten-free, and we will be very happy to educate them. They should stop insulting the wisdom of the Indian people by giving these reasons," he said.

Sharma demanded that government withdraw its statement with an apology as there was no justification to remove import duty on wheat from 25 percent to 0 percent.

Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 20:52 PM

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