Centre won’t help state solve cotton crisis, says NCP chief | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Centre won’t help state solve cotton crisis, says NCP chief

Even as the cotton crisis in the state looms large, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has ruled out any help from the Centre and has put the onus on the state government.

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2011 01:39 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

Even as the cotton crisis in the state looms large, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has ruled out any help from the Centre and has put the onus on the state government.

“There are seven other cotton-producing states. They have all accepted the Minimum Support Price (MSP) worked out by the Centre for cotton. If the state wants to give relief to cotton farmers they should accept the MSP,” said Pawar.

Pawar said this last week in Mumbai following a function on his political mentor YB Chavan’s death anniversary. He added, “Punjab has on its own announced Rs50 for every quintal over and above the MSP of Rs3,300 announced by the Centre. The state government can do something similar.”

Pawar’s statement comes when the state has been unable to work out a solution for the cotton crisis and Opposition is all out to score a point in the coming winter session of the state legislature on the issue. The crisis on the eve of local elections does not bode well for the government especially Congress which has a hold in Vidarbha, a cotton-producing region.

Critics have also accused the state of going soft on sugarcane cultivators by offering sugar mills a higher cane price. Congress and especially the NCP have their stronghold in western Maharashtra, which the largest sugarcane-producing region in the state. However, Pawar ridiculed this allegation. “The state has not paid the sugar factories, individual co-operatives have decided on the prices.”

He said though he sympathised with farmers for asking for a hike, it was difficult to revise MSP as it was calculated on the basis of overall production and global market scenario.