Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal emphasised here on Monday on crop diversification and also change in rules on payment of compensation for crop damage.
Speaking to farmers, who had gathered from various villages here, he advocated a shift from the wheat-paddy cycle and the cultivation of alternative cash crops. “It is time, farmers adopted diversification from low value and high volume crops to high value and low volume crops in their own and in the state’s interest”.
In the same breath, he called upon the central government for change in rules for payment of compensation to farmers in case of crop loss or damage due to natural calamities. He stressed that financial relief should also be given to those farmers who have taken land on rent for cultivation and not just to the owners of the land, who have rented it out.
Badal completed his two-day ‘sangat darshan-cum-thanksgiving’ tour to Dhuri constituency, which had elected SAD-BJP candidate Gobind Singh Longowal in the bypoll. Interacting with young farmers, he urged them to get out of the “routine farming and go in for horticulture and vegetable cultivation,” assuring them that the government would provide them subsidy to venture into the new field.
The chief minister said, “Fish and dairy farming are very promising sectors and the farmers should also look for this option to supplement their earnings. Keep at least five cattle which would give you confidence and more earnings too”. He even recommended the honey bee business as part of diversification.
He said the state has asked the Centre to enhance minimum support price of wheat to `1,950 per quintal for Rabi 2015-16 against `1,450 per quintal. The state agriculture department had recommended a hike of `500 per quintal in its report submitted to him, which he said he had approved.
The Ladda village panchayat got a pat from the CM for utilising the grants and completing 99% of development projects. On resentment shown by some people of ‘biased’ development, Badal said, “There is no household where all works are completed as per their desires. However, still our government endeavour is to complete pending works in the larger interest and benefit to the community”.
In a lighter vein he said, a chief minister needed a minimum of eight days to cover the entire constituency to thank you all. “So, I will come again for more sangat darshans and to lend ears to your problems”.
While interacting with media, Badal said every year we recommend higher MSP. The final decision, however, rests with the Centre. We would urge the Prime Minister to address Punjab farmers’ needs and cover input costs, he said. On allegations of phone-tapping by the state government levied by Congress leader Manish Tewari, Badal said, “Our government never does such things nor would do so; never. It’s Congress party, which indulges in these malpractices.” On the visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Anadpur Sahib on June 19, Badal said, “He is coming as a guest on the celebrations. On such occasions, how can one ask a guest for grants and money?”
On the last leg of his tour, Badal on Monda visited nine villages. Later, he also visited the fish farm at village Kila Hakiman.