September 27, 2012 12:30:06 am
A day after his son and deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal indicated the Shiromani Akali Dal,a partner in the NDA,could re-think its opposition to FDI in retail,Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal reiterated that he is not in favour of the move as it would turn India into a market for foreign goods and destroy local producers and farmers.
We have looked at every angle of the issue. We want to create markets for our farm produce abroad. The UPA decision will create a market for foreigners in India. This will destroy both local producer and traders. That is why we are convinced that at this stage,it does not suit the interests of the farmers or small traders. There is no guarantee that big retail companies will deal with only local produce, Badal said. He stressed that the SAD was with the NDA on the issue.
However,sources in the SAD,which rules in alliance with the BJP,told The Indian Express that several senior leaders supported Sukhbirs stand,especially since many experts,they claimed,have said FDI would benefit farmers,the core constituency of the party.
The Badals are playing politics. Even they know FDI in retail would be beneficial to farmers. If properly implemented and regulated,FDI in retail could go a long way in ensuring more remunerative prices for farmers for their produce. Also,the infrastructure that the corporates are likely to build to store,transport the produce will benefit the farmers as they may also be able to use the same, said Dr S S Johl,the agriculture economist who authored a report on diversification of agriculture in Punjab.
Punjab Mandi Board chairman and chief of Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said,There is no denying that FDI in retail will be beneficial to farmers. In order to ensure farmers are not cheated by big foreign firms,the government can make rules accordingly. I will talk to the chief minister on this issue soon.
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