December 1, 2021 6:30:31 am
Punjab Agriculture Minister Randeep Singh Nabha found himself in a piquant situation after a Department of Public Relations press statement, quoting him, said that the Punjab government will provide minimum support price MSP to the state’s farmers on 113 crops, if the Centre failed to do so.
Nabha, however, told The Indian Express, that “he meant to say” that the Punjab government “may make a plan to provide MSP on 113 crops excluding wheat and paddy” if the Centre failed to ensure the same.
“The farmer unions have provided a list of 113 crops, which included all types of grains except wheat and paddy, oilseeds, and pulses among others. We can contemplate to provide MSP on these crops, if centre dragged its feet,” he said, adding that the state first needs to create infrastructure for it and work in that direction is underway.
Earlier, a statement issued by the DPR officer in Jalandhar said: “In a major announcement, Punjab Agriculture Minister Randeep Singh Nabha said that the Punjab Government would provide MSP on 113 crops if the Centre failed to ensure the same. Interacting with media persons here at the local circuit house, the minister underlined that the Centre should announce guarantee on MSP so that the interests of farming fraternity could be protected. He said that he had already welcomed the Centre for repealing three black farm laws but the Union Government should announce the MSP on crops without any further delay”.
“Reiterating the state government’s firm commitment to serving the ‘anndatas’, Nabha said that it was need of the hour to address the concerns of farmers taking these on top priority. However, he also expressed hope that the center would accede to farmers’ demands of providing guarantee on MSP adding that the agitating farmers would not return until their demands are met,” the statement further read.
Later, Nabha said that the state government led by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has formulated a “vision document” aimed at transforming the farming sector, which would be executed by dividing Punjab into six zones. He said that the vision document emphasizes the need of incorporating technology with agriculture so that the farmers can benefit from these techniques to increase their income and reduce expenditure. The use of drones and other latest equipment would be made to realize this goal, he said. Further, the government was also in the process of joining hands with experts in the field to uplift the farming sector keeping in view the several crops being cultivated in the state.
Expressing concern over the loss of lives of over 700 farmers during the agitation against the farm laws, the minister said the Punjab government has provided jobs to the kin of victims in 157 cases and is also considering the request of farm bodies to offer jobs to the family members of another 122.
He also lauded the contribution of Punjab’s farmers in adopting stubble management practices as the state has recorded a decline of 41 per cent in farm fire cases this year. He claimed that the state government has been making concerted efforts to promote crop-residue management practices and subsidies ranging from 60 to 80 per cent on such equipment were being provided to farmers through custom hiring centers.
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