Procure maize at MSP to prevent distress sales by farmers: Sukhbir Badal to Punjab govt

Chandigarh:  Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday demanded that the Punjab government procure maize at the minimum support price of Rs 2,090 per quintal to ensure that farmers do not resort to distress sales.

In a statement issued here, Badal accused the government of running away from its responsibility. Due to this, the farmers are being forced to sell their produce at Rs 500 to Rs 600 per quintal to private traders, he claimed.

Demanding immediate procurement of the entire maize crop at MSP, the SAD president said, “Failing to do so will deal a severe blow to the (crop) diversification attempts of the Punjab government”.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had announced with much fanfare that maize, sunflower and pulses would be procured at MSP due to which farmers had increased the acreage under these crops, Badal said.”Now, when the time has come to procure the produce, the AAP government has run away from its responsibility,” he charged.

Besides procuring maize at MSP, he said, the government should compensate the farmers for the losses suffered by them due to selling their crops to private traders.

”The government should release this compensation immediately,” he added.Badal said the government should also facilitate farmers in bringing their maize crop to the market.”Adequate dryers should be provided in the markets to help farmers dry their produce and cleaning facilities should also be provided,” he said.

Badal accused Mann of cheating farmers and asked him not to make promises he had no intention of fulfilling. Last year, farmers who believed the chief minister’s promise that the state would purchase their moong crop had suffered heavy losses, he said.

”Farmers responded eagerly to the chief minister’s appeal to sow moong and the area under the pulse also increased by 55 per cent. However, there were no takers for moong once it came to the market, leading to huge losses with many farmers even failing to recover their investment costs,” he alleged.