New Delhi: Opposition parties led by Congress and SP forced two adjournments in Rajya Sabha in pre-noon session today after they created uproar over sharp dip in government procurement price of paddy and cotton which had pushed distressed farmers to the brink of suicide.
Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll promise of giving farmers a price that is 50% more than the cost of production, they trooped into the Well seeking a response from the government.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien first adjourned the House for five minutes and then till noon as members refused to take their place in absence of a government response. Raising the issue Zero Hour, Ahmed Patel (Cong) said cotton prices have fallen from Rs 7,000 per quintal last year to Rs 3,000 per quintal, driving farmers to commit suicide.
When UPA was in power, he said, the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) was instructed to purchase cotton from farmers at right price but this year no such instruction has been given.
Former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar (NCP) said Textile Minister, in response to his letter on the issue, has written to him that the minimum support price this year is Rs 3,750 to Rs 4,050 per quintal depending on cotton varieties.
This compares to MSP of up to Rs 5,900 per quintal last year, he said.
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said in the run up to Lok Sabha election, Modi had made a promise of a price that is 50 % more than the cost of production.
While Mayawati (BSP) claimed that more than 10,000 farmers in Maharashtra have committed suicide, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) wanted Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was present, to respond.
Kurien said the members can give a notice for discussion on the issue even as SP and Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans against the government. This led to the first adjournment of 5 minutes.