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Shillong MP asks PM to increase for Meghalaya’s farmers welfare fund

Drawing the attention of the Prime Minister to the plight of the farmers, which, he said, required the “immediate attention and remedial measures” of the PMO

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Shillong: Veteran Congress parliamentarian Vincent H Pala has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to personally instruct the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) to provide sufficient funds and necessary assistance to the poor farmers of Meghalaya who in majority are indigenous tribal, to enable them to sustain themselves and their families during this pandemic.
“85 per cent of the population of Meghalaya is farmers. Therefore, if only 8967 farmers have been provided financial assisted under this flagship programmed – PM-Kisan Scheme, by the Central Government, then, the Government of India has done a grave injustice to the farmers of this state,” the three-time sitting Congress Lok Sabha noted in his letter a copy of which was also sent to Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.
Drawing the attention of the Prime Minister to the plight of the farmers, which, he said, required the “immediate attention and remedial measures” of the PMO. Pala urged Modi to graciously consider enhancing the necessary financial assistance to the farmers and daily labourers of Meghalaya.
Pointing out that this is the peak season for harvest, the MP said that because of the lockdown, the farmers have been facing “tremendous hardship and difficulties” either in arranging manpower or machineries to facilitate the process of harvesting the crops.
“Normally, during this season, cash crops like broomstick, bay leaf, black pepper, ginger, potatoes, cabbages, cauliflower are harvested in huge quantity in the state. The cash returns come to crores of rupees, thereby benefiting the farmers. It is sad to state that the state government has not made enough efforts to provide marketing facilities and linkages to sell these products,” the MP wrote.
He mentioned in the letter to the PM that in Meghalaya, most of the farmers are owners of their own fields and they engage and employ labourers to cultivate their crops.
“Therefore, when the farmers, who are the owners of the cultivated land, cannot sell nor market their crops they will not be able to pay the local labourers. Hence, most of them are out of job and livelihood. This has adversely affected the families of the small and marginal farmers who depend solely on seasonal crops,” Pala wrote.
“You have been considering the ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ or ‘Self- Reliant India Mission’, where special economic packages were announced which focus on the economic benefit of the labourers, farmers, and the cottage industry. In the process, the Central Government had announced an amount of Rs 20 lakh crores to tide over the COVID-19 pandemic crisis,” the Congress parliamentarian noted.
Exhorting the Prime Minister to release adequate funds to Meghalaya to provide necessary  assistance to the skilled and unskilled labourers, daily wage earners, domestic workers, taxi and sumo drivers, and other un-organized workers, Pala said, “It is sad to mention that the much-needed financial assistance to these group of workers have not been released nor paid by the State Government since last year.”
Recalling that the Centre released Rs 20,000 crore under the Prime Minister Kisan Scheme for the benefit of 9.5 crore farmers across the country, Pala said, “According to the data available, only 8967 farmers from Meghalaya received the direct benefit transfer installment at the rate of Rs 2000 each amounting to Rs 1,79,34,000, the lowest amongst all the North Eastern States.”

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