SAD President asks Punjab CM to give incentives to farmers for switching from paddy to other crops

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], May 8 (ANI): Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday requested Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to introduce an incentive linked crop diversification plan on the pattern of Haryana by announcing an incentive of Rs 10,000 per acre to all farmers switching from paddy to other alternate crops, including maize.

In a statement, the SAD President also asked CM to announce that maize would be procured at MSP by the State as had been done by the Haryana government to make the diversification scheme a success.

"Both steps were urgently needed to address the issue of likely shortage of labour during paddy transplantation as well as to tackle ground water depletion. The government should target over exploited blocks to increase the water table at such places," said Badal.

He said he was confident farmers in areas where paddy was not grown traditionally, including Kandi areas, could also take up the scheme if offered to them. He also appreciated the Haryana government for coming out with a pro-farmer scheme much before the beginning of paddy transplantation.

Badal expressed serious concern that the Punjab government had not taken up his suggestion to prepone the paddy transplantation session to June 1 for discussion with farmers and due implementation. He said preponing the transplantation season would have dual advantages.

"While it will ensure staggered transplantation with labour available in Punjab, it will also encourage migrant labour to stay back because work on preparing paddy nurseries will start immediately," said Badal.

Badal also asked the Chief Minister to intervene and assure farmers that there would not be any problem in procurement of PUSA 44 paddy variety if sown by them.

The SAD President also asked the chief minister to take urgent steps to increase the strength of paddy transplantation machines as well as direct sowing machines in the State to increase mechanisation so that labour shortage could be offset to some extent.

He said farmers willing to purchase paddy transplanters should be given a 75 per cent subsidy. The government should also purchase transplanters and give them to Cooperative Societies so that farmers could make use of them, he added.

"It was unfortunate that nothing had been done to mitigate the suffering of vegetable farmers who were the worst sufferers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Besides giving direct compensation to them, the government should immediately raise milk procurement prices to offset the losses faced by dairy farmers due to increased input costs," said Badal. (ANI)