Chandigarh – Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Punjab Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, has accused Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of being callous to the cause of the maize producers, stating he should stop exploitation of maize farmers in the state.
In a statement issued from party headquarters in Chandigarh on Thursday, Cheema said that the maize-producing farmers in the state were forced to sell their dry maize at between Rs 1200 and Rs 1300 per quintal whereas the central government had fixed its minimum support price (MSP) at Rs 1700 per quintal for the current season.
He alleged that the farmers were left to face a financial loss of Rs 400 and Rs 500 per quintal, while for their undried maize crop, they were getting a meager price ranging between Rs 600 and Rs 900 per quintal in Punjab ‘mandis’ (markets) which, he said, was an open ‘loot’ of the farmers.
Taking a swipe at Captain Amarinder Singh, Cheema said that while, on the one hand, the CM, during the Vidhan Sabha session, was expressing his grave concern over the depleting ground water level in the state ‘predicting’ that Punjab would be reduced to a mere desert in the next 20 years, on the other hand his government was doing nothing to change the narrative by delivering on the ground.
The AAP leader said that why would maize producers in the state would continue with maize cultivation, touted to be a viable substitute to paddy, if they would be forced to sell their produce at a rate much less than the MSP?
Cheema demanded that the government should engage procurement agencies like Markfed and other government agencies to procure maize crop from them thus ensuring them MSP for their produce. He opined that if the government went ahead with the proposal, even private procurement agencies would be forced to buy their maize crops at a higher price than MSP.