The recent hike in fuel prices has not gone down well with the farmers in the region as they fear that it will lead to an increase in input cost for farmers in the paddy season.
Over the last one-and-a-half month, this is the fourth time that the fuel prices have been hiked by the government.
The petrol price was hiked by Rs 1.06 a litre on May 1 and by Rs 0.83 on May 17. Similarly on diesel, the price was increased by Rs 2.94 on May 1 and by Rs 1.26 a per litre on May 17. It was again hiked on June 01 when the petrol price rose by Rs 2.58 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.26 per litre.
On Wednesday another hike was announced with diesel prices going up by Rs 1.26 per litre and petrol by 5 paise.
In Mansa district, the area under paddy cultivation has increased from 85,000 hectares (2015) to 95,000 hectares this year and the hike in diesel prices will only increase the financial burden on farmers.
“A farmer utilises around 2,000 litres of diesel on every acre of his land in the paddy cultivation season. For drawing water, most farmers use tubewell connections, which are run with the help of fuel,” said BKU (ugrahan) leader Ram Singh Behnibagah. Another farmer from Moosa village said that the hike in fuel prices only shows the the Centre is least concerned about farmers.
Punjab Kisan Union leader Ruldoo Singh attacked the state government for not opposing the hike in fuel prices. “The state government should oppose the move,” he said.
Congress leader Manpreet Singh Badal, who was in Mansa to mobilise supporters for the protest rally at Muktsar, criticised the state government.
“It’s high time that Parkash Singh Badal, who calls himself pro-farmer, speaks up against this injustice. Either the fuel prices are hiked or taxes are increased which only burdens the consumers,” he said.