Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haritha Sena dharna tomorrow

The district committee of the Haritha Sena will organise a dharna in front of the Kozhikode Collectorate on Thursday in protest against the continued negligence of the government towards farmers� demands.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, Sena State chairman V.T. Pradeep Kumar said the demands of the organisation included sanction to farmers to extract and process �Neera� from coconut palm, provision of a monthly salary of Rs.5,000 to farmers and a CBI inquiry into the allegations of embezzlement of agricultural debt relief by bank officials.

The Sena criticised the government for turning a blind eye to the report by an expert committee recommending the extraction and sale of Neera in 2003, besides the High Court order asking the government to take a decision on this count. Mr. Kumar said a decision on Neera sale had become inevitable with the living conditions of farmers worsening due to falling coconut prices.

�The Kerala Agricultural University has the technology to convert Neera into a beverage. Neera can fetch a farmer Rs.50 daily from a tree,� said Mr. Kumar. He alleged that the Excise Department was sabotaging the move to allow tapping of Neera.

Mr. Kumar said the Sena was leading a crusade against bank officials who were allegedly stealing funds meant for agricultural debt relief by filing RTI petitions. Terming debt relief as only part of the solution, the Sena chairman said that the return of farmers to agriculture could be ensured only by a comprehensive rehabilitation package. District president K. Balan and secretary K. Muraleedharan participated in the press conference.

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