TN opposition parties call for shutdown April 25 on farmers' issues

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice Dipak Misra said suicides by farmers due to financial stress would'disturb the conscience of any sensitive soul and that the state as a guardian of its citizens had a duty to ensure their well-being. File

Accusing smaller parties of being opportunistic in their decision to join hands with the DMK, the Minister said, "The people of Tamil Nadu will never forget the services provided by Ms. Jayalalithaa to the farmers".

State Secretary G Ramakrishnan said the party's executive council has made a decision to participate in the meeting.

Stalin added that a public meeting would be organised in Chennai on April 22 to explain the resolutions adopted at the all-party meeting in which leaders of several parties, including S Thirunavukkarasar (Congress), G Ramakrishnan (CPM), R Mutharasan (CPI) and Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK) took part.

Major Opposition parties led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will on April 25 organise a day-long strike to demand a crop loan waiver for Tamil Nadu's farmers and to press for its rights in inter-State river water sharing.

A public meeting would be held in Chennai on April 22 to explain to the people the need for the statewide protest, said DMK working president M K Stalin soon after the meeting which went on for almost two hours from 10am. The meeting also demanded that Methane and Hydrocarbon extraction projects be withdrawn, height of Mullaperiyar dam be increased to 152 feet, exemption for students from Tamil Nadu from appearing for NEET and measures on war-footing to solve water crisis in the state.

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"DMK has no locus standi to talk about farmers' issue. The all-party meeting is a drama enacted by the DMK", Mr Raju said.

"They (the State Government) are blaming the Centre and doing politics against the Centre, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is doing its best for the farmers".

Pushpa's remarks come close on the heels of a one-day state-wide bandh called on by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) and six other regional parties to highlight the plight of farmers. "I appeal to everyone - government servants, traders, social organisations and general public - to support the bandh on April 25".

The Centre should treat the drought as a "national disaster" and declare Tamil Nadu "disaster-hit" in view of the unprecedented conditions, a resolution adopted at the meeting said.

"We want the release of water in Cauvery by Karnataka so that the Mettur dam can be opened for irrigation on June 12, the usual date of water release for irrigation", he said. "Everyone should participate and ensure that farmers get their due", Ayyakannu, who is leading the protests in Delhi, said.

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