Punjab CM attacks govt, says MSP hike too little

Express News Service
CHANDIGARH:  Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh called the meager hike in Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy as grossly inadequate and an insult to the farmers. He said that at a time when the farmers are putting their lives at risk by holding a prolonged strike at the Delhi border against the Centre’s three farm laws, the government, instead of applying balm on their wounds, added to the injury with the new MSP figures. 

“The less than four per cent hike in MSP of paddy was not enough even to meet the increased input costs,” he said citing the extraordinary rise in fuel costs over the last one year. The increase in MSP of other crops was also quite measly, he added, noting that the small hike in the base price of maize would discourage farmers from opting for the much-needed crop diversification to save the precious and depleting water resource.

He noted that the Swaminathan Committee, whose recommendations the Central government has refused to accept, had clearly suggested that MSP should be at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production. He said it was not enough for the Union Agriculture Ministry to say that the door for talks with farmers was opens. The Centre must repeal the three farm laws and hold talks with the farmers to find a solution, he said. 

Meanwhile, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij questioned the agenda of the farmers.“Tomar Ji has clearly said the doors for talks are open. The government never closed its doors. There have already been 11-12 rounds of talks earlier,” Vij said, “But farmers’ union leaders have not even once been able to point out what their objections to the farm laws are,” Vij told reporters.