No question of withdrawing free power to farmers, says Capt Amarinder Singh
Says won’t let Centre change procurement system, tinker with MSP in any way
Chandigarh: Coming down heavily on the Opposition for spreading lies on this count, Punjab Chief Minister on Wednesday reiterated that free power would not be withdrawn to the farmers at any cost till his government was in power.
In his concluding remarks to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address in the House, the Chief Minister, while reiterating his commitment for continued hassle-free procurement of food grains in the state, urged the Government of India not to tinker with MSP-based procurement of food grains in any way as it will badly affect the livelihood of a large number of farmers and impair food security of the nation.
Recalling that his government was committed to enhancing the socio-economic security of the farmers through Agricultural Debt Relief and other measures, the Chief Minister said so far debt relief of more than Rs 4603 crores had been given to 5.62 lakh eligible farmers and the remaining would also be given relief very soon, for which the necessary budgetary provisions would be announced by the Finance Minister on Friday.
Pointing out that hassle-free procurement had always been his government’s priority, he said as a result of the non-interference in free and fair operations in the mandis, farmers have been able to achieve higher remuneration for their produce. In the last 6 crops, farmers have received an additional remuneration of Rs.44,000 crore, which is an unprecedented achievement for our farmers.
Listing the efforts made by his government for crop diversification so far, the Chief Minister said these were not enough and hence, the Finance Minister, in his budget speech, will announce a comprehensive scheme to achieve diversification with greater thrust on maize cultivation.
With the aim to conserve groundwater and agricultural diversification, the area under paddy has reduced by 2.50 lac hectares with the drop in production of 12 lac tonnes only, he said, adding that the production of wheat has increased by 7.30 lac tonnes during the last 3 years. The production of Basmati and Cotton has also increased substantially by 2.10 lakh tonnes and 4.81 lakh bales respectively, he added./(Feb 26)