Badal slams meagre hike in paddy, cotton MSP

Chandigarh, June 28 (IANS) Terming it a “a retrograde step to rob the farmers”, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Friday rejected as “inadequate” the hike of Rs.60 and Rs.100 per quintal in the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy and cotton announced by the central government.

He said that against a demand of Rs.1,800 and Rs.4,674 per quintal raised by the Punjab government, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Thursday approved the MSP of paddy and cotton at Rs.1,310 and Rs.3,700 per quintal respectively for the current kharif season.

“This is a retrograde step to rob the farmers of genuine margins of profit, thereby making the plight of already distressed farmers from bad to worse,” said Badal.

The chief minister said that farmers, particularly in Punjab – the Green Revolution state – would be further demoralised by this. He said that agriculture was no more a profitable venture due to squeezed margins owing to constant hike in the cost of agricultural inputs like diesel, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.

Terming the cabinet decision “anti-farmer and a cruel joke with the peasantry”, Badal said the UPA government had not only rubbed salt into the wounds of the farmers by doing so, but also gave a major setback to the hardworking and resilient farming community. This could put the national food security in peril, he added.

Accusing the central government of double-speak, Badal said that while it was forcing farmers to go in for crops diversification, on the other hand it was denying them the “legitimate” MSP.

Punjab, with just 1.54 percent of the country’s geographical area, contributes over 60 percent of the total food grain to the national kitty.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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