Omar hits out at centre over ‘Rs 17 a day handout to small farmers to reduce rural distress’

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Srinagar, Feb 5: Reacting to reports that farmers are being told to take sugar in part payment for the sugar cane that they are growing in Maharashtra, National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah said the insensitive NDA government thinks the Rs 17 a day hand out to small farmers is going to reduce rural distress.
“Farmers are being told to take sugar in part payment for the sugar cane that they are growing & our insensitive government thinks the Rs 17 a day hand out to small farmers is going to reduce rural distress. Talk about ivory castles!,” Abdullah, who is the former chief minister of J&K, wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.
In its interim budget, presented on February 1, the NDA government announced an income support of Rs 500 per month for small and marginal farmers, in a bid to counter the agrarian crisis which has seen countrywide farm protests.
However, according to reports, with payment arrears to cane growers during the current crushing season that started last October at over Rs 4,800 crore already, cash-strapped sugar mills in Maharashtra have come up with a new formula to address the problem. The sugar mills will pay about 20 per cent of dues in the form of sugar. This means that for every tonne of cane supplied, mills will give 17 kg of sugar as ‘payment’.