Present farm crisis could lead to social turmoil : Badal
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that the present farm crisis, if unattended forthwith could turn out to be a grave issue having serious implications likely to cause social turmoil and law and order problem in the country.
Exlpressing deep concern over the plight of the Punjab farmers, Mr Badal in his address on the Golden Jubilee Convocation here at PAU presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said that they were totally demoralised due to heavy debt to the tune of Rs 35000 crore.
He said that agriculture was a no longer a remunerative profession as it faced the crisis of slow growth, declining farm income and dwindling the resources, as many small and marginal farmers had already left agriculture and their number gradually declined from 5 to 3 lakh.
Mr Badal pointed out that now the fate of farmers was in the hands of Government of India as all the powers like fixing cost of agricultural inputs i.e. fertilizers, pesticides, diesel and even the Minimum Support Price (MSP) was solely vested in it and states had hardly any say in these crucial decisions.
He said that the farmers were totally demoralised as there was no encouragement to them from the Centre, except the power subsidy of nearly Rs 6000 crore being provided by the state government. 'Even, then we are subjected to sharp criticism from all quarters for giving free electricity to the farmers whereas it is an acknowledged fact that the major countries like the US, Australia heavily subsidised on the agriculture to encourage the farmers', asserted Mr Badal.
He also impressed upon the GoI to provide adequate subsidy to the farmers to boost their morale and enhance farm productivity.
The Chief Minister lamented that the Centre has paid no heed to repeated requests to grant package for recent drought like conditions in the state, despite this natural calamity the hard working farmers produced record yield in paddy even the heaviest shortfall in rains about 42 per cent across the state.
He said even a group of ministers led by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar visited the Punjab and promised a package but it never came.