CAPT AMARINDER SEEKS IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF VALUE CUTS ON FARMERS FOR SHRIVELLED WHEAT GRAINS AND LUSTRE LOSS
WRITES TO PRIME MINISTER
Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought immediate withdrawal of the value cut imposed by the Centre on farmers while allowing relaxations in specifications of shrivelled grains and lustre loss, caused by unseasonal rains in the state.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister expressed shock that while accepting the state’s earlier representation to announce relaxations, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had imposed heavy value cuts in the MSP, thus further burdening the farmers, already suffering losses due to diminished incomes and the lockdown effects.
Captain Amarinder reiterated his demand for allowing the relaxations without any value cut, urging the Prime Minister to advise the Ministry to review its earlier decision immediately. The value cut imposed varies from Rs. 4.81 to Rs. 24.06 per quintal for shrivelled grains and Rs. 4.81 for lustre loss.
The Chief Minister, in his letter, said the Punjab Food & Civil Supplies Department had already made a reference to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution seeking relaxation in specifications without any value cut. In its response on April 28, the Union Ministry permitted certain relaxation for wheat crop failing to meet the parameters of shrivelled grains and lustre loss, but imposed value cut.
Captain Amarinder asserted that the farmers of Punjab are today feeding the nation in this hour of crisis. It is, therefore, unfair to diminish their income in any manner whatsoever, especially for reasons beyond their control and due to the restrictions imposed by the lockdown.
The Chief Minister further said that unseasonal rains had lashed many parts of Punjab in the month of March, 2020, before the wheat crop could mature. The problem was compounded by the announcement of lockdown across the country and the farmers were unable to take preventive measures to save their crops, he observed.
As a result, said Captain Amarinder, it had been observed that wheat grain arriving in the Mandis in certain parts of Punjab had become shriveled, and in some other areas, there were reports of lustre loss too.