Chandigarh, May 8 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare MSP of Rs 2,902 per quintal for paddy, along with Rs 100 per quintal incentive bonus to check stubble burning.
In a letter to Prime Minister, Amarinder said the state has already written to Ministry of Agriculture recommending a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 2,902 per quintal for paddy, as calculated by the Punjab Agriculture University, as against last year's MSP of Rs 1,835 per quintal.
'Given the need to ensure food safety in the time of the present pandemic, it is imperative that farmers may be given the appropriate price signal by announcing a remunerative MSP for paddy,' a government release quoted the chief minister as saying.
He noted that Punjab is successfully moving towards meeting its target of wheat procurement, notwithstanding the challenges imposed by the lockdown and health safety concerns of social distancing.
Post wheat procurement, paddy transplantation in the state is scheduled to commence in mid-June and may be required to be slightly advanced due to shortage of labour in the state, Amarinder said.
Noting that 'it is unlikely that we will see much seasonal labour coming from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for paddy transplantation due to COVID-19,' the chief minister expressed concern at serious challenges this could pose for farming operations in the paddy season, besides leading to escalation in labour costs.
He further underlined the importance of providing a non-burning bonus to farmers at the rate of Rs 100 per quintal to defray their expenses in handling of paddy straw, thus preventing burning of paddy stubble.
In this context, he also pointed to the Supreme Court's directions, asking the Centre and states to work out an incentive structure to overcome the problem of paddy stubble burning.
'This monetary incentive deserves to be announced ex-ante, i.e. along with the MSP, to allow farmers to prepare for its management and for the state to work towards proper implementation,' Amarinder said.
The bonus would also help incentivise the desired behaviour and encourage farmers to move to better and ecologically sustainable farm practices, he added. PTI CHS VSD RVK