With the Yogi Adityanath government facing criticism from the Opposition over ‘low price’ of potatoes and farmers allegedly dumping sacks of produce at prominent places in the state capital as a mark of protest recently, the Congress on Wednesday launched a campaign to interact with potato growers.
Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu went to Kannauj and Farrukhabad, known as potato belts of the state, where he held meetings at mandis with the farmers. The party is also preparing a detailed report on the problems faced by potato growers and would submit the same to the Governor.
“The government has said that the protest (dumping of potatoes) in Lucknow was a conspiracy by the Opposition, but we are now with the farmers and we invite the government to come here and see their actual plight rather than make false allegations,” said Kumar.
Kumar said he would hold similar meetings with farmers in Etah, Mainpuri and Etawah Thursday. He said he would address a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in Ummedpur area of Etah. “Farmers have told us that they are being charged Rs 120 for keeping 50 kg potatoes in cold storage, which is much higher than states like Gujarat or even neighbouring Bihar, where it is mere Rs 80 and Rs 70, respectively. We were also told that irrespective of the claims of purchase made by the government, the actual purchase is not more than 13 per cent of the actual produce, which is nothing,” said Kumar.
Meanwhile, state Congress president Raj Babbar was detained when he went to meet farmers at Mandola in Ghaziabad who have been protesting half-naked for over a month now, demanding higher compensation for their land acquired by the UP State Industrial Development Corporation. Babbar was, however, released later.