Kochi: Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Bishop of Syro-Malabar Church, urged Kerala government to end injustice to paddy farmers by paying dues to them for their produce bought under a procurement scheme.
The government procured paddy in March but failed to make full payment even after three months, pushing people to poverty in the rainy season, Cardinal Alencherry said in a statement.
He said that ignoring the hardships of farmers, who toil hard all the year to feed the masses and help strengthen the economy of the nation, is an unjust move.
The government apathy has pushed ordinary farmers to serious financial crisis as the rainy season in Kerala also is the time for new admissions for their children in schools and colleges, he added.
Farmers are already reeling under crop failures, and government not paying for the produce makes it even more painful, the cardinal said.
Expressing support for a farmers' demonstration in Kuttanad, a paddy cultivating area in the districts covering Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta, he asked the government to immediately pay the dues of the farmers.
The demonstration was organized by the Kuttanad Vikasana Samithy. During the demonstration, participants held 'begging bowls' in a symbolic gesture, Fr. Thomas Peelianikkal, samithy executive director, said.
He said the government owed 150 crore rupees to the farmers for the paddy procured from Alappuzha district. Across the three districts the government has to pay 375 crore rupees to the farmers, Fr. Peelianikkal said.