Chandigarh, Oct 23 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has urged the Centre to lift the ban on rice export as the step was detrimental to the interests of the country's farmers.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister said that the decision of the Central government to this effect was not only ''anti-farmers'' but also against the basic principles of sound economic planning.
He expressed surprise that on the one hand country is importing wheat instead of encouraging local farmers to produce more, while on the other it has imposed a ban on the export of rice.
''If Centre continues to take such anti-farmer stance the day is not very far off when the country would plunge into deep food crisis thereby jeopardising national food security,'' Mr Badal said.
''If Centre is unable to give remunerative Minimum Support Price (MSP) to the farmers then it has also no moral right to deny them the opportunity to export rice.'' Mr Badal urged both the Prime Minister and Union Agriculture Minister to review the decision in the larger public interest as it would not only hamper the interests of the farming community but also alienate them from producing paddy in future.
He also demanded a remunerative MSP for Maize in ordered to encourage crop diversification.