At a time when farmers in Tamil Nadu are reeling under the severe stress and have been urging for loan waivers, MLAs from the state have given themselves a salary hike of 100%. With a hike of Rs 50,000, their monthly salary will now be Rs 1.05 lakh.
Not just salaries, the pensions have also seen a huge jump. The pension that was Rs 12,000 till now has been increased to Rs 20,000 and the local area development fund to develop their constituencies has also been increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 2.6 crore. Chief Minister E Palaniswami made the announcement in the state Assembly on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the farmers from the state have returned to Jantar Mantar in Delhi with skulls and bones seeking loan waivers and drought-relief package. As soon as they came back to Delhi, they were detained by the police and taken to Parliament Street police station for trying to stage a demonstration near Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence. They had earlier called off their protest after they had got an assurance from Chief Minister E Palaniswami that their demands will be met.
Tamil Nadu is witnessing the worst drought in 140 years with 60 per cent deficit in rainfall. The farmers have been demanding a drought relief package of Rs 40,000-crore. They have also been seeking farm loan waiver and have been asking for the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the Centre, crop insurance for individual farmers and remunerative prices for their produce.
“The state government has waived loans of some farmers, but we want a complete loan waiver. Also, we want the Central government to ensure remunerative prices for agricultural produce and interlinking of rivers to solve the water problem,” P Ayyakkannu, President of the National-South Indian Rivers Linking Farmers Association had said. Ayyakkannu is leading the agitation of farmers who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar.
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