May 8, 2017 9:46:42 pm
Tamil Nadu government today told the Supreme Court that they have “substantially implemented” the policy relating to providing relief to the farmers there.
The submission was made after a bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar, asked Additional Solicitor General P S Narsimha, who was appearing for the state, about the suggestions given by advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, who is an amicus curiae in the matter.
When the bench asked Narsimha about the suggestions, he said that essentially three things – minimum support price (MSP), market accessibility to farmers and procurement centres – have been highlighted in the suggestions given by amicus.
The amicus has given a series of suggestions to deal with agrarian crisis being faced by the southern state.
“On these three issues, enormous work have been done by the state government and guidelines have been given to the officials concerned. Whatever is here (in the suggestions), has been substantially implemented,” he told the court.
“The system is working and each and every suggestion given by him (amicus) has been a part of the policy,” he said.
However, the amicus opposed the contention and said the state’s policy does not cover the issues raised by him in the suggestions given to the court.
To this, Narsimha said he would place the state’s policy in this matter on record.
The bench, however, asked Tamil Nadu government to file a reply to the suggestions given by the amicus and indicate how these have been implemented by the state.
It also asked the member (secretary) of the state legal services authority to file a report with regard to the policy of the government and also about its implementation.
The bench fixed the matter for hearing in first week of July.
The court had on May 3 said there should be “affirmative action” of the Tamil Nadu government to provide relief to the families of those farmers who had committed suicide.
It had made it clear that it was not treating the plea seeking relief for farmers in the state as adversarial but participatory and would not go into the number of farmers who have committed suicide.
The apex court had asked the state government to specify the steps taken to create awareness on MSP on 26 crops so that the farmers do not rely on middlemen who come to their doorsteps to take their produce.
The state government had earlier told the court that a total of 30 farmers have committed suicide across the state in 2016-17 and it was taking appropriate measures to deal with the situation.
An affidavit filed by the state government before the apex court said that the kin of 82 farmers, including the 30 farmers who have committed suicide, have been give Rs 3 lakh each as ex-gratia from Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
It had said as per the reports compiled from information given by district collectors, 52 of the listed 82 farmers had died of various other reasons, but not committed suicide.
The affidavit said Tamil Nadu has faced the most severe drought in over 100 years and was adopting a proactive approach towards farmers it extended crop loans to the tune of over Rs 4,000 crore to over seven lakh farmers in 2016-17.
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