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Punjab CM wants assured remunerative prices for crop diversification

Instead of paddy, farmers are ready to sow sunflower, maize and pulses but for that they must get an adequate and assured price.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, on Friday, said the state is fully ready to adopt crop diversification but the Union Government must provide an assured mechanism to give remunerative prices for these crops.

 

“The Centre must take this step for ensuring that farmers of the state shift from water guzzling crops to less water consuming crops,” said the CM while addressing a gathering after inaugurating ‘Kisan Mela’ at Punjab Agriculture University and Pashu Palan Mela at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana.

 

Chief Minister Mann said that instead of paddy, the farmers of the state are ready to sow sunflower, maize and pulses but for that they must get an adequate and assured price. He said this will help in checking the depleting water table in the state on one hand and making agriculture a profitable venture on the other.

 

The CM said that this is the need of the hour to avert the water crisis in the state. He said that farmers of the state are really worried about the depleting water table and pollution of the environment due to paddy straw burning.

 

He, however, said that they are not able to come out of the rut of wheat and paddy cycle as they don’t want to lose the assured price mechanism associated with it. Mann said that Punjab is blessed with fertile land where anything can germinate but efforts must be made to save this fertile land and its water.

 

“The crisis of water can never be ignored as we are pumping out water at the same depth in which Gulf countries are taking oil, which is alarming for us. Rice is not our staple food but for producing one kilogram of rice we are using 4000 litres of water due to which we have to adopt alternative crops,” said Mann.

Recalling the immense contribution of Punjab in making the country self-reliant in food grain production, the CM said the hard working and resilient farmers of the state had provided food security to the country in testing times.

 

He, however, said that for this they had to over exploit their only available natural resources in terms of fertile land and water. Mann bemoaned that now when few more states are producing paddy so attempts are being made to deprive farmers of Punjab from minimum support price (MSP), which is completely unfair.

 

The CM said the Union Government imports pulses worth Rs 120 billion dollar annually from other countries whereas it is not ready to provide minimum support price to the farmers of the state who are ready to cultivate it.

 

He said that in the coming days an important decision will be taken to get rid of the menace of paddy straw burning. Mann said that it was the duty of the Union Government to find a solution for it as farmers produce rice for the country.

 

The CM said that paddy goes into the national food kitty but the Centre asks states to tighten noose around farmers to prevent paddy straw burning.