NALGONDA/NIZAMABAD: Emulating the turmeric farmers of Nizamabad, fluoride victims from Nalgonda district have decided to file mass nominations in Varanasi, in a bid to draw national attention to their decades-old problem. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election from Varanasi, the fluoride victims of this backward district hope the Centre takes note of their problem and implements steps to alleviate their problems.
In 2008, the Central government sanctioned a fluorosis research and mitigation centre at Malkapuram village of Choutuppal Mandal. But till date, it remains only on paper. On several occasions, Fluorosis Vimochana Samithi president K Subhash and NRI foundation chairman N Sudheer sent representations to the Centre, but to no avail. Fluoride victims demand setting up of a regional fluorosis mitigation and research centre, a complete survey of fluoride victims, and pensions based on the percentage of fluorosis in each beneficiary, from Rs 3,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.
In 1996, about 480 fluoride victims filed nominations for the Nalgonda parliament seat, demanding a solution to their problem. Sudheer said five victims from Nalgonda and six from Prakasam district in AP would file their nominations on April 29 for the Varanasi LS seat, adding that many could not cough up the security deposit of Rs 25,000.
Farmers begin journey
Meanwhile, as many as 40 turmeric farmers from Telangana left for Varanasi on Thursday to file their nominations. They are understood to be affiliated to the ruling TRS, and hail from Nizamabad Rural, Armoor and Balkonda constituencies.
The farmers decided to file mass nominations for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in protest against the delay in setting up of a Turmeric Board and declaration of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for turmeric.
“We will file nomination papers. We are apolitical. We only want to draw the attention of the nation and force the government to concede our demand. We are not against any political party,’’ one of the turmeric farmers from Telangana, K Narasimha Naidu, said.
The protest is being led under the banner of Turmeric Farmers’ Association. About 40 farmers left in a special bus for Nagapur, from where they will catch a train for Varanasi on the night of April 26.
They will take a two-day break in Varanasi and file their nominations April 29. Their nomination papers are ready and notarised, and they have taken voter’s certificates from the Nizamabad LS constituency Election Returning Officer.
TRS leaders are confident that seed companies based in Armoor that have connections with Varanasi are helping the farmers in getting locals to support them for filing nominations.
The Association’s leaders also plan to seek the help of Telugu who live in the region.