Centre conspiring to ruin agriculture in Punjab: Badal

July 27th, 2012 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 27 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Friday accused the central government of conspiring to ruin agriculture in the state by neglecting storage and movement capacity for produce.

Talking to reporters in Talwara town, 200 km from here, Badal said: “It is a conspiracy of the union government to derail the development of the state by ruining its agriculture, which is the backbone of its economy.”

Punjab is the single largest contributor of food grain (wheat and rice) to the national kitty despite having only 1.55 percent of the country’s geographical area. It contributes nearly 70 percent of the total food grain production to the national kitty.

Badal lamented that the central government’s apathy was leading to hundreds of tonnes of food grain being left to rot every year as adequate and scientific storage facilities were not available.

“Despite the fact that the state government has been requesting the Government of India (GoI) time and again for setting up of silos on scientific lines, no heed has been paid to the requests,” he noted.

Likewise, he said, the movement of food grain was to be carried out by the railways, which were under the control of the central government, but even that was not being done on time leaving Punjab with huge stockpiles of food grains.

The state government has been asking the central government to move earlier stocks of food grain to other states where people were dying of hunger.

Badal said that rather than issuing directives to the state government, the central government should focus on discharging its duty of ensuring proper lifting, storage and movement of food grains from Punjab, for the welfare of the peasantry.

He said the central government has hardly done anything for safeguarding the interests of Punjab’s beleaguered farmers, who were under mounting debt and literally faced no future in agriculture due to its faulty policies.

Badal said it was a paradoxical situation that the farmers of the state, who had played a pivotal role in making the country self-reliant in food production, have been reduced to the position of beggars due to the “anti-farmers” stance of the central government.

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