INDIAN NATIONAL Lok Dal MLA Parminder Singh Dhull on Wednesday brought 200 kg potatoes for symbolic sale in the Haryana Assembly complex to show the pitiable condition of potato growers in the state because of a very low price of the crop. He sold the potatoes at the rate of Rs 1 per kilo, alleging that the government has failed to protect the interests of farmers.
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The employees and others standing in the Assembly complex bought the potatoes from Dhull. “The farmers have been forced to sell the potatoes at the rate of Rs 1.5 per kg in bulk. Many farmers in Ambala and Sirsa were forced to throw their potatoes on the roads in Ambala and Sirsa because they have to pay carriage charges to take them to the markets in neighbouring towns,” Dhull told The Indian Express. Dhull, who brought four bags of potatoes in his Innova, installed a temporary sale counter in the Assembly complex. Here, he was joined by leader of the opposition, Abhay Singh Chautala.
“The Haryana government should learn from the Assam government which buys potatoes at the rate Rs 5 per kg from farmers offering them minimum support price (MSP) for the vegetables. I fail to understand why the BJP state government doesn’t introduce MSP concept for vegetables and fruits to help farmers,” added Dhull, a two-time MLA from Jullana constituency of Jind district. According to Dhull, the potatoes are grown in Ambala, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Kaithal and Sirsa districts. Chautala said they would support the farmers, who have planned to agitate, demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission Report to ensure profitable rates of their crops.
Later, the INLD MLAs also staged a brief walkout from the Assembly after expressing dissatisfaction over assurances of Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar over the issue. Dhankar said the state government sends the recommendations to the Commission for Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP) for fixing the MSP of crops on the basis of expenditure incurred on the crop in the interest of farmers.
Thereafter, CACP submits the recommendations to the Government of India, which after a detailed discussion with the representatives of states, announces MSP. “When the market price of pulses and oil seeds is lower than the MSP, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) procures the crop on MSP through HAFED. Likewise, if the market price of cotton is lower than the MSP, it is purchased by the Indian Cotton Corporation at MSP,” said Dhankar.
He further said that as the market price of black gram and barley is more than the MSP, there is no need for intervention by the government. In addition, according to Dhankar, the state government provides subsidy to the farmers through implementation of schemes sponsored by the Centre and states. “Subsidies are provided on seeds, equipments, fertilisers and pesticides,” he added. Dhankar said Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is being implemented in order to compensate the farmers for losses on their crops due to natural calamities.