To save farmers from distress selling of crops in open market, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday approved setting up of a price stabilisation fund in the state. Interacting with a delegation of the Bhartiya Kissan Union, which called on him on Monday, Badal said that this step would result in a self-sustaining mechanism to ensure better remunerative prices to the peasantry for their produce. Besides, it would offer marketing support to offset the negative impact of marketing forces, Badal said.
The Chief Minister said that the state government was in constant touch with the central government “to impress upon them to overcome certain shortcomings in new crop insurance scheme launched by them (Centre) to make it a more farmer friendly policy”.
“The state government has brought all the objections in the Centre’s notice and will urge them to amend the scheme so that majority of farmers especially from green revolution states like Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh are benefitted from it,” he added.
Acceding to demand of the delegation of Bhartiya Kisan Union, the Chief Minister approved to appoint those farmers and ‘Arthiyas’ or Commission Agents, who were educated and well versed with the ground realities of the peasantry on the state level Agricultural Debt Settlement Tribunal and district level debt settlement forums.
This, he said, was to ensure foolproof and efficient implementation of the “The Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness 2016”, which provides for a framework for expeditious determination and settlement of non-institutional agricultural debt.
During the deliberations, the Chief Minister informed the delegation, led by the Chairman of Punjab Mandi Board Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, that the state government has already released funds worth Rs 80 crore to ensure free crop loan of farmers upto Rs 50000.
Badal, according to an official release, said that the state government was fully sensitised towards the problems being faced by the farmers due to which every effort was being made to bail them out from the “current agrarian crisis”.
The Chief Minister directed the Chairman of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to clear the backlog of general category tubewell connections pending since 1992 at the earliest.
He also asked the Chairman to immediately release the tubewell connections under priority category of 2.5 and five acres. Likewise, Badal also asked him to issue tubewell connections for farmers having land near the border fence on the top priority.
Badal also asked the Additional Chief Secretaries Development and Revenue to seek legal opinion from Legal Remembrancer (LR) for making suitable amendments in the Land Tenure Act 1953 for facilitating the farmers to get better prices of their produce.
Badal said that “the current provisions of the Act were archaic and needed immediate amendments in the larger interests of the farmers.”
The Chief Minister also batted for roping in more NGOs to check the menace of stray cattle in the state.
Expressing concern over the heavy toll of human life and substantial loss suffered by the farmers due to this menace, Badal assured the delegation that the state government was fully committed to control this hazard.
Reiterating the firm commitment of the state government to not share even a single drop of water with other states, the Chief Minister said that the state government was making every effort to save the legitimate share of state in river waters.
He said that the state government was already pursuing the case effectively in the Apex court and every effort was being made to save the share of river waters of the state.