UDF walks out of Kerala assembly alleging government failure to address farmers'' plight

Kerala Legislative Assembly
Kerala Legislative Assembly

Thiruvananthapuram | The Congress-led UDF opposition on Tuesday staged a walkout in the Kerala Assembly alleging that the government has failed to address the concerns of farmers who have faced crop losses, and to provide them with timely financial assistance.

Despite the farmers suffering a loss of about Rs 1,000 crore due to climate change-induced heat waves and subsequent extreme rainfall, the Left government in the state is yet to announce a comprehensive financial package for them, they said.

The UDF urged the government to make a thorough change in its policy in the agriculture, construction, and development sectors in the wake of climate change and related natural phenomena.

Moving a notice for an adjournment motion over the matter, IUML legislator Kurukkoli Moideen detailed the plight of farmers in the state.

Further explaining their woes, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said Kerala has experienced the dangerous impacts of climate change.

He said that as per the government's preliminary estimate, there has been crop loss of Rs 500-Rs 600 crore but "in fact, there has been crop damage to the tune of at least Rs 1,000 crore".

The crop loss is in addition to other issues in the agriculture sector, and despite such a grave situation the government has been reluctant to announce a package to support the struggling farmers, he alleged.

"About 60,000 farmers were affected by drought and 50,000 were impacted by rains in the state," Satheesan said.

The Congress leader also alleged that farmers in the state were yet to receive dues of Rs 51 crore in crop insurance payouts, in addition to further crop insurance compensation of Rs 30 crore.

Several persons, including paddy farmers, have ended their lives due to financial distress, the LoP alleged.

If these circumstances continue, Kerala will go into a dire situation in which farmers would withdraw from their traditional means of livelihood, he warned.

However, State Agriculture Minister P Prasad rejected all the opposition charges and said the government was taking all possible steps to support farmers and the agriculture sector.

He admitted that the heat waves and extreme rainfall had adversely impacted the lives and livelihoods of lakhs of farmers in the state.

He detailed various steps being taken by the government to address the situation and the farmers' concerns.

Climate change-based crop insurance is being implemented in the state, and its coverage has been extended to more crops, the minister added.

As Speaker A N Shamseer rejected leave for the motion based on the minister's reply, the UDF staged a walkout in the house as a mark of protest.

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