Pala petitions Prime Minister Modi on plight of Meghalaya’s farmers

Pala: I will not succumb to pressures to implement ILP

Shillong, Jun 8: Congress Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from Shillong, Vincent H. Pala in his letter to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stated that while 85 percent of the population of Meghalaya are farmers but only 8967 farmers were provided financial assistance under this flagship programmed, PM-Kisan Scheme.

Pala stated that grave injustice has been done to the farmers of the state by the Centre.

Recently, the Central Government released Rs.20,000 crores under the Prime Minister Kisan Scheme for the benefits of 9.5 crores farmers across the country.

The Congress Member of Parliament from Shillong stated that according to the data available, only 8967 farmers from Meghalaya received the direct benefit transfer instalment at the rate of Rs.2000 each amounting to Rs. 1,79,34,000, the lowest amongst all the North Eastern States.

“I urge you to personally instruct your good office to kindly 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,” Pala stated in his letter to Modi.

The MP also stated that this being a peak season for harvesting, but because of the lockdown, the farmers are facing tremendous hardships 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 Peppers, Gingers, Potatoes, Cabbages, Cauliflower etc. are harvested in huge quantity in the state. The cash returns come to crores of rupees, thereby benefiting the farmers of this state. It is sad to state here that the state government has not made enough efforts to provide marketing facilities and linkages to sell these products,” Pala stated.

In the letter to the Prime Minister, Pala stated 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 lands cannot sell nor market their crops they will not be able to pay the local labourers. Hence, most of them are out of jobs and livelihood. This has adversely affected the families of the small and marginal farmers who depended solely on seasonal crops,” the Congress MP stated.

Pala also stated that with the Centre announcing an amount of Rs.20 Lakh Crores to tide over the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, he requested Modi to release adequate funds to Meghalaya to provide necessary assistance to the skilled and unskilled labourers like the daily wage earners, the domestic workers, the taxi and sumo drivers, and other un-organized workers who depended on their daily livelihood.

“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,” Pala told the Prime Minister in his letter.