GUNTUR: Minister for agriculture Prathipati Pulla Rao, who led the farmers’ agitations being a member of the opposition in the past, is now at the receiving end.
Nearly 200 farmers from both Prakasam and Guntur districts, who produced Bengal gram, under the aegis of Andhra Pradesh Sanaga Rythula Sangam, laid siege to the house of the minister at Chilakaluripets in the district Sunday.
They demanded that the minister take steps for stoppage of the auction of Bengal gram, which they stored in cold storages in Prakasam and Guntur districts, as bankers issued notices to the farmers stating that they would auction of the stored crop if the farmers do not pay loans.
They also demanded that the state government should take measures to get a remunerative price of `5,000 for one quintal of Bengal gram as the market price was only `3,000 to `3,500.
The farmers also staged a sit-in at the minister’s house and raised slogans demanding better remunerative price for their produce and stopping the auctioning of Bengal gram produce by the bankers.
Reacting to the situation, minister Pulla Rao spoke to the farmers and assured that he would try to resolve the issue.
He, however, maintained that getting remunerative price for the Bengal gram could be decided at a state-level meeting in about 15 days. He also reportedly asked Prakasam district collector GSRKR Vijay Kumar to take steps to hold the auction of Bengal grams by the bankers.
The bankers issued a notification for auctioning of Bengal gram stored in cold storage units on Sept 28 and 29, as the farmers had not repaid the loans. Nearly 70 lakh quintals of the Bengal gram has been stored at the cold storage units.
Speaking to reporters, farmers’ leader K Bhaskara Rao said that the farmers in Guntur and Prakasam districts had stored their Bengal gram produce in cold storage units by taking loans from the banks. Now the price, being offered for Bengal gram per quintal is about `3,000.
Nagabiru Ranga Rao, another farmer leader, said that they were disappointed with the response of the minister.
“We were told the same thing that was told to us when we met the CM about 20 days. Now the minister is also saying that it would take another 15 days. This is not correct,” he added.