Shahabad (Kurukshetra), May 22 (PTI) Main opposition Congress on Friday protested the curbs imposed on paddy cultivation in parts of Haryana by the state government and claimed that it will deprive farmers from cultivating the crop in about 4.5 lakh acres of land.
Congress leaders led by party's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala and former MLA Anil Dhantori participated in a dharna at Shahabad and demanded immediate withdrawal of the order. To maintain social distancing, only four leaders were invited to the symbolic protest, Dhantori said.
Later, the Congress leaders submitted a memorandum against the state government's decision to local sub-divisional magistrate, which was addressed to the governor.
Addressing reporters, Surjewala charged the BJP-JJP government of 'working to destroy the farmers by depriving farmers of paddy cultivation'.
'How can you prevent farmers from cultivating paddy on their own land and threaten to punish them by denying MSP for paddy and other due benefits in case they still choose to grow this crop,' Surjewala asked the state government.
Launching a scathing attack, Surjewala said the coalition government was 'punishing' the farmers of northern Haryana in the guise of 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat scheme'. 'BJP-JJP government's order to ban paddy cultivation in Shahabad, Pipli, Babain, Ismailabad, Siwan, Guhla and various blocks of the state is draconian and not acceptable to the farmers,' he added.
'It is more shocking that the MLAs, MPs of BJP-JJP are meekly watching their own government deprive thousands of farmers of paddy cultivation on about 4.5 lakh acres of their ancestral land in Haryana without offering them a better farming option,' Surjewala claimed. He said all ministers, MP and MLAs should oppose the order of the state government and if they cannot protect farmers, rice millers and traders, then they have lost the moral right as people's representative and should tender their resignation.
Surjewala alleged that the crop diversification scheme by the Khattar government was a conspiracy to eventually stop the procurement of paddy at Minimum Support Price (MSP) by discouraging a large number of farmers from cultivating the crop.
'Under the new autocratic order and scheme brought out by the Khattar government, they now want farmers in eight blocks which have been identified and 19 blocks in total to not cultivate paddy at all and want to punish the farmers by denying them MSP for paddy in case they still choose to grow this crop.
'They also want to deny farmers in 26 other blocks the right to grow paddy on Panchayati land. This is despite the fact that state government's another (crop diversification scheme) ''Jal hi Jeevan Hai'' scheme, launched last year, was surreptitiously closed and put under the table,' he added.
Notably, under the 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat' scheme, the farmers have to diversify at least 50 per cent of their cultivated paddy area by growing alternate crops like maize, cotton, bajra and pulses in the 19 blocks where ground water level has depleted to 40 metres.
For these blocks, farmers will not be permitted to cultivate paddy in any areas where paddy was grown last year and they will be given incentive of Rs 7,000 per acre to switch over to other crops.
Besides, in agriculture land of Gram Panchayats in 26 blocks where ground water level has depleted to 35 metres the Panchayat will not permit paddy growing in their lands. PTI SUN VSD AAR