Badal appeals PM for Rs 5,000 cr for agriculture diversification
CM thanks PM for sanctioning Borlaug institute, DMR
Saturday, December, 08 2012 - 16:32
LUDHIANA: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that the present farm crisis, if un-attended forthwith could turn out to be a grave issue having serious implications likely to cause social turmoil and law & order problem in the country.
Showing deep concern over the plight of the Punjab farmers, Badal in his address on the Golden Jubilee Convocation here at PAU presided by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, said that they were totally demoralized due to heavy debt to the tune of Rs.35,000 crore. He said that agriculture was a no longer a remunerative profession as it faced the crisis of slow growth, declining farm income and the dwindling the resources, as many small and marginal farmers had already left agriculture and their number gradually declined from 5 to 3 lakh.
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 etc. 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 demoralized 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 USA, Australia heavily subsidized on the agriculture to encourage the farmers", asserted 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 our repeated requests to grant package for recent drought like conditions in the state, despite this natural calamity our hard working farmers produced record yield in paddy even the heaviest shortfall in rains about 42 percent across the state. He said even a group of ministers led by the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar visited the Punjab and promised a package but it never came. On the issue of promoting farm diversification in the state, the Chief Minister urged Dr. Manmohan Singh to immediately set up a a technology mission for 'Diversification of Agriculture with an allocation of Rs.5,000 crore "Diversification Mission for the Green Revolution States" in Northern India on the lines of Rs.4,000 crore already sanctioned under 'Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India'
Lauding the enormous contribution of Punjab farmers in making our country not only self-reliant but surplus in food production, Badal recalled those unfortunate days when India faced acute shortage of food grains and was bagging from other countries. At that crucial juncture only the Punjabi farmers accepted the challenge to ensure country's food security.
He however, said that this all had been achieved at a huge sacrifice of our natural assets land fertility and water in the national interest. Badal said that now it was a payback time for Centre to acknowledge the services rendered by our farmers by giving them their share overdue since long.
Expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister for sanctioning Borlaug Institute and the Directorate of Maize Research (DMR) to Punjab, Badal demanded a Center of Excellence for Research in Soyabean to be set up in the state to boost farm diversification in the big way. Besides, he also requested the Prime Minister to sanction another Center of Excellence for Research Fisheries in the state as fisheries had a vast scope to give a fillip to the allied farming in the state.
Badal apprised the Prime Minister that the Punjab government had already hiked the state's contribution from Rs.103 crore to 270 crore approximately to the Punjab Agricultural University – the mother of the Green Revolution. He however, urged Dr. Singh that the Central government should also to provide liberal annual grant of Rs.100 crore for the university to intensify research in modern farm practices. Apart from this the Chief Minister also congratulated the Dr. Singh for being honored with Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa).
Earlier, the Chief Minister was awarded the Doctor of Science D.Sc (Honoris Causa) degree by the Punjab Governor and Chancellor of the University Shiv R. Patil alongwith three other recipients including the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Dr. Jaswant Singh Kanwar and Dr. RS Paroda both eminent farm scientists and researchers.
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