The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kisan Morcha (farmer wing) on Saturday demanded direct payment of the crop procurement price to farmers, even as the state government, in which the BJP is the junior partner with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has been reluctant to shed the practice of routing the payment through commission agents or arhtiyas.
Demanding a separate 'agriculture budget' in all states, including Punjab, on the pattern of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, the morcha's president OP Dhankar said here on Saturday, "Even if our party is a coalition partner in the Punjab government, the Kisan Morcha is only demanding corrective steps for the benefit of farmers."
Talking to the media on the sidelines of the wing's national executive meet, he also sought interest-free farm loans. Replying to a question, Dhankar said, "I have written to the Punjab chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal, to adopt the system of direct payment of MSP (minimum support price) to the farmers."
Punjab has repeatedly been directed by the union government to adopt the direct payment method, but to no avail.
Further going against the state's policy, Dhankar batted for bonus to be given to farmers from the state's coffers, on the pattern of the Rs 100 per quintal bonus given by Madhya Pradesh government on wheat and paddy.
He also demanded special compensation for the farmers across the country for the deficient monsoon having resulted in drought-like conditions, and said that the morcha would launch a drive seeking such compensation.