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Give drought relief to us directly: Farmers to Centre

Tribune News Service, New Delhi, September 4, 2014

 

Battling deficient rains, Punjab and Haryana farmers today sought Rs 500 per quintal bonus on paddy from Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, besides direct payment of drought relief sought by the two state governments. A memorandum submitted by the Bharti Kisan Union demanded a review of the MSP of paddy and other crops taking into account unexpected rise in cost of production. Farmers said any package for drought should be given directly to them as doles given by the Centre to the state governments “never reaches” the real beneficiaries. Punjab and Haryana have sought special packages from the Center for having purchased extra electricity at higher costs to save crops and meet other farm-related exigencies.

 

While Punjab has demanded Rs 2,330 crore, Haryana, which recently became the first state to declare drought, has sought Rs 4,829.25 crore from the Centre. A top government functionary said the Agriculture Minister was all praise for Punjab for having cropped 95 per cent of the land, despite a 60 per cent plus overall deficit. He is also expected to recommend a special “financial commendation” for Punjab by November-December. “However, the agriculture ministry can only recommend as finance ministry is the sanctioning authority,” he said. As per BKU leaders Onkar Singh Agaul and Sewa Singh Arya, farmers are facing a huge cost of extra diesel to pump sets to water crops and despite this extra input costs the yield per acre would definitely come down by 15 to 20 per cent.

 

They added “whatever may have been the claims of the state governments, they are never supplied power to run tubewells for more than three to five hours a day”. Apart from seeking tax-free diesel for the agri sector, farmers also want a relaxation in paddy procurement specifications. Submits memorandum to Agriculture Minister The BKU submitted a memorandum to Centre seeking review of the MSP of paddy and other crops taking into account unexpected rise in cost of production Farmers said doles given by the Centre to the state governments "never reaches" them. They alleged they are never supplied power to run tubewells for more than three to five hours a day