Capt To PM: Resolve Farm Unrest To Farmers’ Satisfaction

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure an urgent resolution of the ongoing farm unrest by the Centre “to the satisfaction of the protesting farmers by addressing all their grievances.”

Through his speech submitted for the virtual meeting of the NITI Aayog, the CM called for the fullest respect for the ‘Annadata’ and reiterated his government’s stand that agriculture is a State subject and law-making on it should be left to the States in the true spirit of “cooperative federalism” enshrined in the Constitution, according to a press release.
In this context, he pointed to the state amendments already passed to the central legislations by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in October 2020, it said.

“Captain Amarinder could not attend the NITI Aayog meeting as he was indisposed,” the release added.

The CM asserted that any reform that is sought to be introduced in a sector subsuming almost 60 per cent of the country’s workforce must be done only through a process of extensive consultation with all the stakeholders, of which Punjab is a key stakeholder, being at the forefront of ensuring food security for the country.

Citing strong apprehension among farmers of Punjab that the Minimum Support Price (MSP)-based procurement regime through Food Corporation of India (or agencies on its behalf), introduced as part of food security measures in the 1960s, maybe discontinued in view of the Shanta Kumar Committee Report of 2015, Captain Amarinder also stressed the need for the Indian government to decisively dispel any such impression “to instill proper confidence in the farmers of the State,” the release mentioned.

The CM also used the forum to once again reiterated the state government’s demand for a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy procured as “Paddy Straw Management Compensation”, which can be used for purchase or rental of new equipment, attaining the skills for efficient use, and to reduce the cost of operation and maintenance.

He also requested the Central to provide Rs 5 crore per MW (Megawatt) financial support for Biomass Power Projects and Rs 3.5 crore per MW for Biomass Solar Hybrid Projects to the state as Viability Gap Fund (VGF) to help alleviate the effects of paddy straw burning through ex-situ utilization of available paddy straw with good returns to the farmers, according to the release.

It mentioned that underlining the importance of aligning the cropping system to agro-climatic conditions at the district level for optimum use of resources, Captain Amarinder called upon the Central government to designate agencies to procure and provide MSP matching the returns of wheat and paddy in order to incentivise the farmers to take up cultivation of alternate crops and thereby achieve diversification and save precious water.

He also sought Central’s support and liberal financial assistance to facilitate the state’s programmes and schemes for diversification towards Nutri-cereals, pulses, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry.

The importance of water conservation was also highlighted by the CM.

He has also requested the Centre government to consider Punjab’s pilot project – ‘Pani Bachao Paisa Kamao (PBPK)’ – as a national project, for which a feasibility report amounting to Rs 433.00 crore has already been submitted by the state to the Central Water Commission.

The Punjab CM further sought a Deficiency Price Support for alternative crops like maize, in order to encourage farmers to diversify out of the water-intensive paddy crop.

The release further said that Captain Amarinder also urged the central government to devise a cluster development scheme, on the lines of the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector, for the Food Processing Sector for creating ‘Common Facilities’ in every Agri Cluster which will supplement the three Mega Food Parks established in the state. (ANI)

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