National

Mirchi adds masala to Telangana politics

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 11, 2018

BL04_CHILLI

Opposition turns the heat on TRS as crop prices plunge on glut, low demand



The spicy chilli may no longer offer good returns to farmers, but it has given the hapless opposition parties in Telangana plenty of fuel to turn the heat on the K Chandrasekhar Rao Government.

Braving blistering summer temperatures, the badly hit farmers have taken to the streets in protest as a glut and low prices have hit their fortunes. In the tears of the hapless farmers, political parties sense an opportunity to take on the strong Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS).

The Congress, TDP, CPI, CPI(M) and other parties have grabbed the opportunity to castigate the KCR government, alleging that it has fallen short in assuaging the cause of the suffering farmers. They have rallied behind the protesting farmers in the red chilli growing districts, especially Khammam and Warangal.

The Congress, whom KCR berated at the TRS’ recent plenary in Warangal for letting the people of Telangana down on several fronts, is trying its best to corner the ruling party. Irate farmers went on a rampage in the Khammam market yard, breaking furniture and creating a scene to register their protest.

Senior Congress leaders K Jana Reddy and Bhatti Vikramarka took up cudgels for the farmers. But the TRS was quick to respond and blamed the Congress and TDP for trying to cash in on the problems of the farmers.

Missive to the Centre

The TRS leaders argued that the State government had taken pro-active steps to press Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh for an immediate intervention. Minister for Marketing T Harish Rao shot off a letter to Singh on the situation, especially in the markets in Khammam, Warangal, Suryapet and Gadwal.

What ails chilli?

In a commercial crop like chilli, bumper production should have been welcome, but it has turned sour because of several factors, including a dip in exports and demand.

The falling price and lack of a Minimum Support Price has rubbed salt into the wounds of the farmers. Incidentally, the crop acreage crossed one lakh hectares and production is slated to be around 70,000 lakh tonnes.

Andhra Pradesh — with its famed Guntur chillis, Telangana and Karnataka are the major chilli growers.

The frustration among farmers in the two Telugu States is high because many have diversified into the cash crop. The government, too, has been discouraging rice cultivation in recent seasons.

Published on May 03, 2017

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