AMID HEAT over the issue of paddy restrictions in Haryana, Chief Minister ML Khattar Thursday said that the government did not ban the paddy cultivation but it “was like an advisory”.
“It can be called voluntary or an appeal. This is not that any ban was imposed (on paddy cultivation),” the Chief Minister said in Chandigarh Thursday while referring to the recent restrictions on paddy cultivation for water conservation.
Although sensing the mood of farmers, the government had relaxed the conditions two days back, it still won’t allow paddy cultivation on panchayat land which is normally hired by small and marginal farmers.
Soon after Khattar’s statement Thursday, the Congress hit back and termed CM’s statement as “victory of farmers”. Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala asked theCM to “tender an unconditional apology to the farmers for issuing a draconian order on paddy”, while party state president Kumari Selja urged the government to withdraw all restrictions on the paddy cultivation including on the panchayat land. Taking on the CM, Surjewala said, “It was not an advisory but the government had restricted paddy cultivation through an official order on May 9 this year.”
Initially, the government had asked the farmers of 19 blocks, where the groundwater is below 40 meters, not to cultivate paddy in 50 per cent of the area this time. The government says only eight of these blocks are paddy rich areas. But the restrictions had invited sharp reaction from the farmers as well opposition..
In an indirect reference to the tractor march of farmers in Fatehabad district against the restrictions on paddy cultivation, the Chief Minister said, “It doesn’t mean that all farmers are unhappy (on paddy issue). I have personally visited three blocks where all said that we are doing good job.” The CM also said that 60,000 farmers have already agreed for crop diversification in different areas of the state.
In the new guidelines issued two days back, the officials say, those small farmers who have only two acres of land can sow paddy in the entire part of the land while the farmers who have three acres of land, they will be suggested to spare one acre for alternative crop. “We won’t let any piece of land empty. The government will help the farmers for alternative crops. A financial incentive of Rs 7,000 per acre will be given for alternative crops apart from insurance of the crop by the government. We will ensure that the farmers don’t face any problems,” said Khattar.
After CM’s briefing to the media, Surjewala tweeted, “Today is a red-letter day for Haryana’s farmers. An arrogant Khattar government has been forced to reverse its draconian order banning paddy cultivation in (almost) 5 lakh acres.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines