VIJAYAWADA: In a surprise development, the State government on Monday announced partial closure of government offices and suspension of APSRTC bus services on Tuesday, besides declaring a holiday for educational institutions, in solidarity with the Bharat Bandh call given by farmers' associations protesting the new farm Bills of NDA Government at the Centre.
"We respect the sentiments of farmers' associations, which called for Bharat Bandh. Ensuring that there is no law and order problem in the State, the bandh can be observed till 1 pm, so that people are not inconvenienced," Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kanna Babu said.
The government offices will function after 1 pm. Similarly, the APSRTC will suspend bus services till 1 pm. However, educational institutions will remain closed for the day. "We urged the farmers' associations to cooperate with the State government and see that the bandh is observed voluntarily and peacefully," the minister said.
TDP puts onus on state, centre for MSP to ryots
On the other hand, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, who asserted that the party would strongly stand for ensuring MSP as a lawful right of farmers, said it would wage a struggle for protection of the Minimum Support Price in the new bills. "Memoranda will be submitted to the district collectors on Tuesday seeking provision of MSP to agricultural produce," he said.
Naidu also stated that both the Centre and State government should protect the farmers' rights and interests with regard to MSP for agricultural produce and introduction of the market intervention scheme. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet on September 20, promised that the farmers' interests will be protected in respect of the price. That promise should be included in the laws being enacted now," he said, and wanted both the Centre and State to spare no efforts to safeguard the interests of farmers.
"The mechanism for provision of MSP should be initiated at the market committee level to ensure a better deal to farmers. The market intervention should also be encouraged at the national level to create confidence among the farming community," he said.
Incidentally, both the ruling YSRC and Opposition TDP had supported the farm bills when they were passed in Parliament. Both the YSRC and TDP seem to have taken a pro-farmer stand now considering their political interests in the State.
On the other hand, CPI State secretary K Ramakrishna welcomed the government’s decision to close offices and suspend RTC bus services till 1 pm supporting the farmers’ cause.