August 12, 2020 1:58:12 pm
Farmer Chuhar Singh of Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district had purchased Punjab government certified “subsidised” wheat seed in November last for sowing. The subsidy amount was to come to his bank account, but ten months on, he is still waiting for the transfer even as another wheat sowing season is upon him.
His joint family had purchased three quintals seed at Rs 3000 per quintal. The subsidy promised was Rs 1000 per quintal.
“I spent Rs 9000 per to purchase 3 quintals certified seed out of which Rs 3000 was to be transferred by the government to my account as a part of subsidy but the government hasn’t paid,” said Chuhar Singh.
Another farmer, Gurbakhshish Singh, and his family had purchased 5 quintal seed and were eligible for Rs 5000 subsidy. He says that holding back subsidy for months is not right on government’s part.
“Seed plays a major role in the agricultural production and experts advised us to replace seed every three years and also encouraged us to go for certified seed at the time of replacement rather using our own from the previous crop,” said Gurbakhshish Singh.
Dharminder Singh from Sangrur says he has made several rounds to the office of the Agriculture Department to get his due subsidy amount of Rs 5000.
These three farmers share their story with almost every other farmer in the state who bought subsidised seed offered by the government.
The subsidised seed was provided to mainly small and marginal having land up to 5 acres (two hectares) under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) of the central government. The subsidy amount is shared by the Centre and state government in a 60:40 ratio.
Although the government’s preference is small and marginal farmers, but medium and big farmers with more than 5 acres of land had purchased it from the government agencies as the seed was available.
Though Center has already allotted its share but the state government has not contributed its 40 per cent share due to which this subsidy amount could not be transferred in the accounts of the farmers.
A senior officer in the Agriculture Department said that the total amount of this subsidy would come to around Rs 28 to 30 crore as every year nearly 3 lakh quintals seed is sold by the government to the farmers.
Around 35 lakh hectares area is dedicated under wheat crop in Punjab and one quintal wheat seed is required per hectare. Punjab requires around 35 lakh quintal seed (3.50 lakh tonnes).
And if it’s replaced every three years then the annual requirement of new certified seed is around 11.50 lakh quintals in Punjab which is grown by several certified private seed breeders.
The government tries to cover small and marginal farmers who need around 3 lakh quintals seed to replace every year.
Government agencies, including Punjab Seed Corporation (PUNSEED), provide seed to the Agriculture Department to provide farmers on subsidised rate. “Even Punjab State Farmers and Farmworkers Commission hardly presses the government to release such long-pending subsidies to the farmers,” said another farmer.
Another senior officer in the Agriculture Department said that they raise this issue in every meeting but unless the state provides its share the subsidy cannot be provided to the farmers.
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