Haryana farmers glad to have migrant labour back in paddy fields, fret over hike in diesel prices
Increase in paddy MSP will not increase farmers’ income due to increase in expenses, say expertsUpdated: Jul 03, 2020 17:00 IST
Paddy farmers in several parts of Haryana heaved a sigh of relief after migrant workers returned to the fields but their worries are far from over because of the increased prices of diesel, pesticides and labour.
A farmer, Amit Narwal of Kathura village in Sonepat, was glad to see the group of 27 migrants that arrived from Bihar’s Araria and Purnia areas in a bus specially arranged by local farmers.
“This year the input cost for paddy cultivation has increased. The labourers are charging Rs 4,000-Rs 4,300 per acre for paddy sowing against last year’s Rs 2,700-Rs 2,800. After negotiation, the workers settled at Rs 4,000 per acre. We will also be providing them three meals a day and accommodation facility. Many workers are asking us to share the travel expense of Rs 4,000 per person,” he said.
Another farmer, Praveen Kumar of Kahlpa village, said though the labour shortage had been resolved, they were burdened because of the increasing prices of diesel.
“The government has increased the MSP of paddy to Rs 53 per quintal, claiming that it will provide relief to the farmers, but at the same time it has hiked diesel prices to Rs 11 per litre,” he said.
HAPPY HOMECOMING FOR MIGRANT WORKERS
Migrant workers said that they were happy to be back in Haryana. 50-year-old migrant worker Sibu Singh of Bihar’s Araria said that he had been coming to Baroda and Gohana areas to work in the paddy fields for the last 13 years.
“I paid Rs 4,000 as bus fare to reach a village in Sonepat but I am happy to be back. It was very difficult to make ends meet in Bihar. Now, I am earning Rs 500 per day,” the migrant worker said.
Another worker from Bihar, Ram Avtar, said he had hardly earned Rs 8,000 at his native village in Bihar in April and May but he had earned over Rs 4,000 in the last 10 days alone by working in paddy fields.
“We have strong relations with the landowners in Haryana. We have been working in the fields for the last 10 years. We used to stay in Haryana for eight to nine months,” Avtar said.
Agriculture expert Ramandeep Singh Mann said a rise in diesel prices will cost farmers Rs 400 per acre.
“The increased MSP of paddy will benefit farmers. They will earn Rs 1,272 per acre but rise in diesel price (if farmers irrigate fields with pumps) will cost them Rs 860. Moreover, the cost of labour has increased by 40% and that of pesticides by 15%. The rise in paddy’s MSP will not increase farmers’ income this year,” Mann said.