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Tamil Nadu doubles MLAs’ monthly salary to more than Rs 1L amid farmer protest

The decision comes as farmers are protesting in Delhi to press for better crop prices and a loan waiver, following a 40-day protest with skulls, mice and snakes that captured national attention.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2017 15:18 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Tamil Nadu MLAs,MLA salary hike,Farmer protest
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.(PTI File Photo)

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday raised the monthly salary of MLAs from Rs 55,000 to Rs 1.05 lakh, a move that has angered farmers in the southern state that is battling its worst agrarian crisis in 140 years.

Tamil Nadu is in the grip of a severe drought that has worsened the economic condition of farmers, many of whom recently returned to protest in Delhi after the state government allegedly failed to fulfil its promises.

Earlier this year, the government had declared all 32 districts drought-hit.

“The government does not want to give us remunerative prices but wants to increase their salaries,” said P Ayyakannu, who is leading the protest in Delhi.

Chief minister Edapaddi Palanisami, who in April sought time from farmers to address their problems, announced the hike in the salary and perks in the state assembly that will be effective from July 1.

Palanisami had promised he would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to waive off farm loans. “But the TN government has gone to court to get a stay on Madras high court order on waiving farm loans,” Ayyakannu said.

The local area development fund for MLAs has been increased from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2.50 crore per year.

“Tamil Nadu MLAs should not vote a hike for themselves. In fact, they should set an example for the rest of the country by refusing to accept any hike,” BJP’s state spokesperson Narayan Tirupati said.

He was critical of the opposition DMK as well. “Why is the DMK accepting this? In fact, it must oppose this announcement tooth and nail,” he said.

The DMK has called for the dismissal of the state government for failing to resolve the farm crisis.

Farmers are asking for a loan waiver, a revised drought package and fair prices for their produce, among other things.

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 13:38 IST