Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Ludhiana vice-chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon has blamed Punjab farmers for the agrarian crisis.
"We (farmers) have gone crazy. We want MSP (minimum support price) for everything. There are very few states in India which provide MSP on wheat and paddy. The recent example is that of basmati. The government repeatedly told farmers not to go in for basmati this season. But they did not listen. And now I am asked why Haryana is paying more for basmati than Punjab. Because they have less area under basmati," Dhillon said, while addressing farmers at the regional kisan mela organised here on Saturday.
"You (farmers) do not follow university instructions and I do not know why? We try to provide you the best seed varieties, but even then you try the varieties not referred to by the PAU," Dhillon said. The V-C also questioned the alleged extravagant lifestyle of farmers for losses suffered in agriculture.
He also instigated the farmers to bring down the area under wheat and paddy drastically for once to challenge the Centre. "Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder asked you for more. But I say even if you bring down the area under wheat and paddy, by 10% at one go, it would shake the Centre. You people should show some unity," the V-C told the farmers.
Bhunder has been telling the farmers not to sow wheat and paddy for a year in order to make the Centre realise the importance of Punjabi farmers.
Later, talking to HT, the V-C said, "Punjabi farmers are after money. Water is going down and farmers are not worried. Do Haryana and Rajasthan farmers earn more money than Punjabi ones? How many farmers commit suicide in Rajasthan?"
When asked if the university was finding itself helpless in offering a solution to the agrarian crisis, he said, "We have not failed. For example, it is not basmati, but its marketing that has failed and marketing does not come under the PAU profile."
When asked if he was satisfied with the funds provided by the Centre to promote diversification in the state, he said, "I think it is enough to start with. It takes time when there is a change in the government. How can you expect the views of Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi on a particular issue to be the same?"
On the delay in developing the BT cotton seed in the government sector, the V-C said, "The budget of Monsanto on the bio-technology research is far more than India's total budget on agricultural research."
"Governments have no money. We should admit that we are a poor country," the V-C said when asked if only farmers were responsible and not the governments.