SC seeks TN government’s response on farmers’ awareness about MSP

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SC seeks TN government’s response on farmers’ awareness about MSP

New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Tamil Nadu government’s response on steps it takes for generating awareness amongst farmers about the minimum support price (MSP) and availability of procurement centres for their agricultural produce.

It said that there was lack of awareness about the MSPs fixed by the government of 26 crops produced by the farmers.

The court sought response from the state government on suggestions by amicus curiae Gopal Shankarnarayan on short-term steps for creating awareness amongst the farmers on MSP for 26 crops, establishment of food grain markets for selling agriculture produce within acceptable radius from villages and procurement centres.

Noting that there was “lack of awareness” about MSP, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M.Khanwilkar and Justice Mohan M. Shatanagoudar said “if MSP is there for 26 crops, why it is not being implemented”.

“There has been a problem, there is a problem,” the bench observed saying: “Does farmer know about MSP for 26 crops and where to go to sell their produce.”

Telling the Tamil Nadu government not to treat the matter as an adversarial litigation, the court asked: “What have you done. Awareness and dissemination of information about MSP is lacking.”

“BDOs (Block Development Officers) should hold camps to make farmers aware of MSP and the Centres where they can sell their produce,” said the bench, fixing May 8 as next date of hearing.

The bench’s observations came in the course of hearing of a PIL by Tamil Nadu Centre for Public Interest Litigation drawing the top court’s attention to suicides by the farmers in the state and need for remedial steps.

The court sought response from Tamil Nadu government as amicus curiae Shankarnarayan told the court that famers suicides in the state could be attributed to the lack of their awareness of the MSP fixed by the government and access to grain markets.

Additional Selector General P.S. Narasimha however told the court that everything that has been suggested by the amicus curiae was in place and sought time to place it before the court.

He urged the court not to pass any order let him apprise the court of things being done by the state government.

The PIL said that that there was full awareness about MSP amongst the farmers in Punjab and that is the reason that there were no suicides on account of financial stress, whereas in Tamil Nadu the awareness was just 31 per cent and there were suicides.

It said suicides by farmers are taking place in Tamil Nadu for last 10 years and there was strong linkage with successive drought conditions and non-availability of water.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.