Sukhbir Badal Asks Punjab Govt Agencies To Procure Maize At MSP
Chandigarh, June 16 (TNA) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday demanded that the Punjab government agencies procure maize at minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2090 per quintal as promised by chief minister Bhagwant Mann to save farmers from going in for distress sales.
In a statement here, the SAD president said farmers who had been taken in by the announcement of the chief minister that maize would be procured at MSP were in dire straits with no takers for their crop, forcing farmers to sell their produce at Rs 500 to Rs 600 per quintal less than the MSP to private traders.
Demanding immediate procurement of the entire maize crop on MSP, Badal said “failing to do so will deal a severe blow to the diversification attempts of the Punjab government”. He said the chief minister had announced with much fanfare that maize, sunflower and pulses would be procured on MSP due to which farmers had increased the acreage under these crops. “Now when the time has come to procure the produce, the AAP government has run away from its responsibility”.
Badal demanded that besides procuring maize at MSP, the government should also compensate farmers for the loss suffered by them in selling short to private traders. “The government should release this compensation immediately”. He also demanded that the government facilitate farmers bringing their maize crop to the market. “Adequate dryers should be provided in the markets to help farmers dry their produce and cleaning facilities should also be provided”.
The SAD president also asked the chief minister not to make hollow promises he had no intention of fulfilling. He said last year farmers who had believed in the promise made by the chief minister that the State would purchase their moong crop had suffered heavily.
“Farmers responded eagerly to the chief minister’s appeal to sow moong and the area under the pulse also increased by 55 per cent. However, there were no takers for the moong once it came to the market leading to huge losses with many farmers even failing to recover their investment costs”.
Asking the government to take corrective steps immediately, Badal also asked the chief minister to apologize to the farming community for playing with their emotions. He said the chief minister had not only cheated farmers but had compounded the betrayal by deriving cheap publicity by hard selling the “initiative” through multi-crore advertisements.
Sukhbir Badal also demanded the government introduce MSP for vegetables, asserting farmers were being exploited by middlemen and forced to sell short. He gave the example of how farmers had to recently offload their capsicum crop on the road after failing to get remunerative prices for the same.