Yesterday, on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited a remote village in Vijayawada and met with farmers to find out about their problems. Nirmala Sitharaman met with farmers in the village of Jukkala Nekkalam in Gannavaram and, in view of the pandemic situation, discussed the minimum support price for their yield and the market conditions. The farmers told the finance minister that they were not getting MSP, mainly on paddy and sugar cane, on their farm produce. The farmers put forward different criteria, including Rs 2,000 MSP on paddy per quintal. The finance minister declared that farm bills have been introduced by the central government and many of their problems will be solved. She was accompanied by various BJP state leaders, including Somu Veeraju, former President Kanna Laxminarayana, Sunil Deodhar, MLC P V N Madhav, among others.
Sitharaman's visit to Gannavaram comes at a time when, for almost 300 days, farmers in the Amaravati area have been agitating against the YSRCP government over the three capital bills. The farmers of the villages in the Amaravati region provided nearly 34,000 acres of land for the construction of the state's capital in Amaravati. Several farmers in Gannavaram gave away their land under the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS) for the construction of the airport.
A visit to Gannavaram by Nirmala Sitharaman could kick up a fresh row. With the YSRCP representatives, her visit could not go down well. Earlier, she was criticised for urging the government of Andhra Pradesh to reconsider cancelling numerous internationally supported agreements. She was of the view that the cancellation of the agreements would have significant consequences for the investment prospects of the country. She had also found that the power supplied by the central generating stations was not used by the AP government. She criticised the government for providing power at Rs 9 per unit when it is offered at Rs 2.7 per unit by the central government through its generating stations.