PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU (TENALI): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, through you, I wish to draw the attention of the Government to a very important issue pertaining to the palm oil growers in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The farmers in Andhra Pradesh were subsidised by the Government of India for growing palm oil plantations in their land. Now, the growers are left in a very bad state because the oil price which were about Rs. 3,000/- per tonne last year has been now reduced to Rs. 2,300/- per tonne.
Sir, the farmers who have got 28,000 hectares of palm oil plantation have threatened to sit on a dharna on the 27th of December, 1999 protesting against the distress that they have been subjected to. Last year, the farmers were offered around Rs. 3000/- per tonne but now they are being offered only Rs. 2,300/- per tonne. This situation has arisen due to the import concessions that have been given to palm oil imports. The duty on palm oil imports have been reduced from 65 per cent to 15 per cent. On account of this, a highly competitive market, between the imported oil and the oil that is grown in the States, has been created by the Government.
Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government to offer Rs. 3,000/- to the farmers which they have been demanding. The gap between Rs. 3,000/- and Rs. 2,300/- could be bridged by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh with the help of the Government of India through market intervention schemes. I would like to urge upon the Government to rise to the occasion and see that Rs. 3,000/- is paid to palm oil growers in Andhra Pradesh and help avert the proposed dharna on 27th December, 1999. Otherwise, the farmers have threatened to the extent of even uprooting the entire 28,000 hectares of palm oil plantations since it is not going to be remunerative and helpful to them.
The Government should help indigenous growing of palm oil plantations instead of depending on total imports of palm oil in future.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: The House now stands adjourned to meet again at 2 P.M..
The Lok abha then adjourned for Lunch till Fourteen of the Clock.
The Lok Sabha re-assembled after Lunch at five minutes
past Fourteen of the Clock.
(Shri Basu Deb Acharia in the Chair)