Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday slammed the Centre for declaring an "unreasonable and un-remunerative" hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy.
The Centre had on Thursday increased the MSP of paddy by Rs 170 to Rs 1,250 and Rs 1,280 per quintal for common and grade A varieties, respectively.
Badal said that there was "Centre's deliberate attempt to rob the farmers of genuine margins and consequently the agriculture continues to be a non-profitable venture and the plight of farmers is turning from worse to worst."
The state government had suggested an MSP of Rs 1,600 and Rs 1,665 per quintal for these varieties to the Centre.
In an official statement here, he said this hike spoke volumes of the Congress- led UPA government's complete insensitivity and apathetic attitude towards the plight of the beleaguered farmers, who were already in distress due to low returns on their produce despite exorbitant cost of agricultural inputs incurred by them on diesel, fertilizers and pesticides.
Terming the "insignificant hike" as a "cruel joke" with the farming community, Badal said that the Centre should have appreciated the ground realities in a holistic manner to provide a level playing field to the farmers, rather than adding to their woes with this unreasonable and un-remunerative hike in the prices of paddy at a point of time when the MSP was not commensurate with the ever increasing costs of agricultural inputs.