Badal scoffs at new minimum price for wheat

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Saturday rejected the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs.1,350 per quintal announced by the central government for wheat for 2012-13.

In a statement here, Badal demanded that the MSP should be at least Rs.2,200 per quintal as the cost of agricultural inputs had gone up considerably in the recent years and agriculture was hardly remunerative for farmers.

Punjab alone contributes over 50 percent of the food grain (wheat and paddy) to the national kitty every year.

The chief minister said the non-remunerative MSP coupled with anti-farmer policies of the central government was primarily responsible for the slowdown of the agricultural growth.

He said that though his government had been constantly pleading the case of Punjab’s beleaguered peasantry which was in distress and demanded MSP of at least Rs.2,200 per quintal for wheat, the central government had shown apathy to the situation.

Badal said the state agriculture department had worked out the MSP for the crops in consultation with experts of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, in view of the recent escalation in the prices of agriculture inputs like seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, diesel, besides cost involved on irrigation and labour.

He said the central government should have at least realised the immense contribution of Punjab farmers to make the country self sufficient in food production and ensure national food security.

IANS

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