Sukhbir slams Centre's for stalling wheat MSP hike | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Sukhbir slams Centre's for stalling wheat MSP hike

chandigarh Updated: Nov 03, 2012 15:46 IST

The Punjab government on Saturday charged the Centre with indecisiveness for deferring a decision on hiking MSP for wheat and said this was against the interest of farmers.

The Union cabinet had on Thursday, while announcing the minimum support price (MSP) for several foodgrain items, decided to defer the decision on wheat saying further consultation would be held in this regard.

"I am shocked. There is indecisiveness in Government of India. They want to control from the top and let the cost go down. They want farmers to be crushed," Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal told reporters.

The Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices has recommended freezing of wheat MSP at last year's level of Rs 1,285 per quintal. It suggested a 10 percent bonus to growers in case wheat export was banned. But the agriculture ministry had sought wheat MSP to be fixed at Rs 1,400 per quintal for 2013-14, leading to postponement of a decision.

Badal said there could be a crisis if Punjab farmers are discouraged from growing wheat as the state meets 60 percent of country's requirement.

"The same government complemented the farmers 3 years back, when there was a drought. Punjab saved the country. We have 50 percent less rainfall than last year this year and were assured of a drought package. Now they have refused to give that," he said on the sidelines of a CII Invest North Conference here.

On state's efforts to boost farm output this fiscal, he said, "The state government bought a lot of power and gave it to farmers. As a result, we would be able to have a bumper crop."

Asked whether he would take up the issue with Centre, he said, "Why not. They have to increase. Diesel is increasing, input cost is rising and they are not increasing the MSP."

In reply to another question, he said the Centre should fulfil its commitment to provide adequate coal supplied to the power plants in the state.

"If you take decisions you should take it fast. You know you are delaying it for four years. Today the project which costs Rs 12,000 crore would cost Rs 15,000 crore after five years and finally you will have to give clearances, you have to build power plants. The biggest problem is indecisiveness of the government. They should reduce bottlenecks, red tapism, only then India will progress," he added.