Terming the Government's relief package to rain-hit farmers as inadequate, Telugu Desam party president N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday started his indefinite hunger fast at New MLAs Quarters here from 8.30 am.
Talking to media persons, Naidu stated that he was observing the fast as a last resort in protest against state government’s meager relief package for rain-hit farmers in the coastal Andhra Pradesh.
“I tried my best to prevail upon the government to do justice for the farmers. However, the government has shown an indifferent and unsympathetic attitude towards farmers,” he stated.
Stating that crop was damaged in 60 lakh hectares in the state, Mr Naidu said if the government extends full support, the farmers can take up sowing Rabi operations.
The TDP chief stated that he had asked the government to pay Rs 10,000 per paddy acre and Rs 15,000 per acre for commercial crop as compensation. He demanded that the government buy discoloured rice and seeds which have sprouted due to rains.
The former chief minister also demanded that the government announce a special package for weavers, who were in deep financial crisis and had resorted to committing suicides. Mr Naidu also urged the government to lift restrictions on export of farm produce, particularly rice and cotton.
Earlier, the TDP chief went to NTR Ghat to pay tributes to party founder-president NT Rama Rao and from there commenced a padayatra to New MLA Quarters. He also garlanded the Ambedkar statue on Tank Bund and Gandhi statue on Assembly premises before launching his for hunger fast.
A few women MLAs and senior party leaders including Nagam Janardhan Reddy, K Dayakar Reddy, Parasa Ratnam, Vinukonda Anjaneyulu, K Narayana, P Raghunath Reddy, T Prabhakar, S Venkata Veeraiah, Praveen Reddy, Seethakka, Umamadhava Reddy, Satyavathi Rathod, Seetha Dayakar Reddy and E Annapurnamma will be on the hunger strike along with Mr Naidu.
Meanwhile, the Telugu Desam Party leaders across the state are also observing hunger fasts in support of their leader and staging agitations and dharnas.