Chandigarh, Oct 21 (IANS) Punjab, which contributes nearly 60 percent of the country’s foodgrain production, is upset with the central government for announcing a meagre Rs.20 per quintal (100 kg) hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Thursday slammed the central government for ‘an inadequate hike’ of Rs.20 per quintal in the MSP of wheat, fixing it at Rs.1,120 per quintal.
Describing it as ‘a stab in the back of the farmer community’, Badal demanded that the MSP for wheat should be at least Rs.1,400 per quintal.
‘The centre should have announced an increase of Rs.400 per quintal in MSP of wheat instead of a meagre hike of Rs.20 per quintal,’ Badal said here.
Badal said that the non-remunerative MSP coupled with anti-farmer policies of the central government were responsible for the slowdown in agricultural growth.
The chief minister said that his government had been constantly pleading the case of Punjab’s peasantry which was in great distress and demanded an MSP of at least Rs.1,400 per quintal of wheat from the central government.
‘It is a paradoxical situation that the MSP demanded by the farming community is far below the price at which the country had been importing wheat from Australia and there was hardly any justification to deprive the local producers of the same price,’ he said.
He said that the Congress-led government at the centre was insensitive towards the plight of farmers in Punjab who were feeding the entire country.
He pointed out that the cost of all agriculture inputs like diesel, fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and others had gone up considerably in recent years, making farming a non-lucrative profession.