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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

To counter Naxal spread, boost farm economy: Capt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, January 20, 2013
First Published: 21:06 IST(20/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:26 IST(21/1/2013)

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Capt Amarinder Singh has warned against spread of Maoism in the country including Punjab, saying that it was gradually covering more states.

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In his presentation at the Congress Chintan Shivir at Jaipur, Amarinder referred to the party document that foresaw Maoism-Naxalism as a major challenge: "While earlier only about 150 districts were said to be affected by the ultra-leftist extremism across the country, now the number of districts had touched about 350."

He revealed that in a state like Punjab that was doing relatively better than others, all the 22 districts had reported activities of Naxal groups. But he sought to also blame the SAD-BJP regime, "Seven years ago when I was the CM, only two districts in Punjab had Naxal presence."

Linking development and Naxalism, he called for innovation in agriculture, saying the farmers needed to be provided adequate minimum support price (MSP) proportionate to the input costs. "Since the government is finding it difficult, introducing genetic engineering and genetically modified crops is the only option to increase the yield to improve the economy and prevent the ultra-left extremist groups exploiting people's plight," he suggested.

"Some big multinational pesticide companies and other vested interests will oppose it under some disguise as they will find their commercial interests threatened, but the government must not bow to them."

Recalling his days as CM, Amarinder said that he ensured to introduce BT Cotton amidst strong opposition from the vested interests. "Not only did the crop need far less pesticide sprays, but the yield also increased and farmers' income increased manifold," he claimed. "Similar measures must be adopted all over India to address the issue of the depleting income of the farmers… it will improve the rural and agrarian economy and can prove to be an antidote against the Naxal and Maoist movements."

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