Farm crisis can trigger problems: Punjab CM
Ludhiana: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said a "farm crisis" had arisen due to persistent problems faced by farmers, which would have serious implications on the society if left unattended.
Showing concern over the plight of farmers in Punjab, Badal during his address at a special convocation as part of Golden Jubilee celebrations at Punjab Agricultural University said, "They (farmers) are totally demoralised due to heavy debt to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore."
At the event presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said agriculture was no longer a remunerative profession as it faced the crisis of slow growth, declining farm income and dwindling resources.
The fate of farmers was in the hands of the Central Government "as all the powers like fixing cost of agricultural inputs -- fertilisers, pesticides, diesel etc and even the Minimum Support Price (MSP) was solely vested in it and states had hardly any say in these crucial decisions."
"The farmers were totally demoralised as there was no encouragement to them from the Centre, except the power subsidy of nearly Rs 6,000 crore being provided by the state government.
Even, then we (Punjab govt) are subjected to sharp criticism from all quarters for giving free electricity to the farmers whereas it is an acknowledged fact that the major countries like USA, Australia heavily subsidise agriculture to encourage the farmers," Badal said.
He also appealed to the Centre to provide adequate subsidy to farmers and boost their morale.
The Centre had allegedly paid "no heed to our (Punjab`s) repeated requests to grant package for recent drought like conditions in the state," he said.
The farmers had produced record yield in paddy despite scanty rains this year, he added.
"Even a group of ministers led by the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar visited Punjab and promised a package, but it never came," he said.
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