CABINET LED BY CM URGES GOI TO RELAX UNIFORM SPECIFICATIONS FOR WHEAT FOR PROCUREMENT
REQUESTS CENTRE TO HIKE ITS SHARE OF COMPENSATION TO CROP LOSS DUE TO NATURAL DISASTERS
Chandigarh, April 10:
The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Bhagwant Mann on Monday urged the Government of India (GOI) to relax the specifications for wheat for procurement in the current season, in view of the crop losses suffered by farmers due to unseasonal rains.
A decision to this effect was taken by the council of Ministers in a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister here at his office in the Punjab Civil Secretariat-I on Monday.
During the meeting, the Cabinet requested the centre to order appropriate relaxation in specifications without any value cut, which will compound the problems of the farmers who had already suffered significant crop losses due to the rains and winds that lashed in the state. Such rains at the time of maturation of wheat crop had caused considerable damage to the standing crop and also affected the quality of the wheat grains because of water logging, leading to loss of luster/blackened grains. Therefore, the Cabinet unanimously urged that prescribed uniform specifications of wheat with regard to damaged, slightly damaged, shriveled and broken grains, luster and moisture content should be relaxed by the Government of India.
The Cabinet further observed that the share of centre in compensation given per acre to the farmers for compensating their loss due to the natural disaster was on lower side, in wake of the exorbitant hike in the prices of agriculture inputs borne by the farmers to raise the crop. The Punjab government has recently enhanced its own share to Rs 8200 from existing Rs 6600 to ensure that the farmers having crop loss more than 75% are given Rs 15,000 per acre. The Cabinet urged the Government of India for upward revision of the compensation to the affected farmers.
The Cabinet was of the view that agony and pain of a large number of farmers who have suffered heavy losses due to sudden and erratic changes in weather, can’t be expressed in words. Unfortunately intensity and frequency of rains coupled with high velocity winds and hailstorms have caused substantial damage to the crops and impaired livelihood of a large number of farmers. The Cabinet urged the centre to duly compensate the farmers whose standing crops have been affected due to recent heavy rains coupled with high velocity winds and hailstorms adding that the existing norms to provide for a minimum compensation per acre to the affected farmers needs to be revised.
The Cabinet recalled that Punjab has always been in the forefront for ensuring food security of the nation and has been contributing about 40-50% of wheat and 30-35% of rice to the Central Pool from the last three decades. Such was the level of involvement and commitment of the farmers to their profession that with just over two percent of the country’s geographical area and even less as a percentage of the country’s population, Punjab contributes the heaviest share among all states to the national food kitty, earning them it the sobriquet of the country “food bowl and granary. Though this has been achieved at a huge cost to the state and its farmers as the Punjab farmer’s have bartered away their only two natural resources: soil fertility and water. Meanwhile, it was also decided that Incharge Cabinet Ministers will undertake tours in their respective districts as Chairperson of District Grievances committee to oversee ongoing Girdawari operations.
GREEN SIGNAL FOR SENDING THE CASE OF ONE PRISONER FOR SEEKING PREMATURE RELEASE OF LIFE CONVICTS
The Cabinet also gave green signal for sending the case of one prisoner for seeking Premature Release of life convict confined in the jails of state. After the nod of Cabinet under Article 163 of the Constitution of India, these special remission/premature release cases will be submitted to the Punjab Governor under Article 161 of the Indian constitution.