Khattar defends crop diversification scheme, says got encouraging response

Chandigarh, Jun 2 (PTI) Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar on Tuesday defended the crop diversification scheme launched by his government, saying they have received an encouraging response from farmers.

The chief minister also hit out at the Opposition, which has claimed that the government has imposed restrictions on the cultivation of paddy in parts of the state under its 'Mera Pani, Meri Virasat' programme.

The Congress had demanded that farmers be allowed to cultivate the crop of their choice. Responding to queries at a virtual press conference, the CM said under the crop diversification scheme launched last month, farmers in the blocks where water level has fallen below 40 metres were appealed to switch over to the crops which consume less water.

“For nearly 50 lakh hectares, farmers have given in writing that they will not sow paddy and go for other crops,” Khattar claimed, adding that scheme has got an encouraging response.

He said farmers have been advised to sow crops like maize, millet, pulses, vegetables and fruits, for which they will be given an incentive of Rs 7,000 per acre.

Under the scheme, while farmers will be given an incentive per acre, the government will bear a premium of Rs 700 per acre under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, he added.

Hitting out at the opposition, Khattar said, “The Opposition has been claiming that restrictions have been imposed on paddy cultivation. But we have imposed restrictions only on the panchayati land.” For farmers having their own land, there are no restrictions, he said.

“The Opposition will beat drums, but we know that farmers understand the situation,” he said.

“If we save water, our future will be secure or else they will will curse us,” the CM added.

In an apparent reference to senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who has been vocal on the issue, Khattar said some people say the chief minister lacks experience.

“Then they say how many times I have been an MLA. From that point too they have fallen back. I contested two elections and won both. He (Surjewala) has lost his both previous elections,” he said. PTI SUN VSD RDK RDK