New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI) DMK leader and Union Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu today dashed off a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, making a strong case for fixing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy at Rs 1000 per quintal for the kharif season 2007-08 in view of the plight of paddy growers caused by recent excessive monsoon rains.
Mr Baalu said initially, when the issue of fixaing MSP for paddy came up, several state governments, including that of Tamil Nadu, suggested hike in procurement prices by including adequate bonus in the MSP proposed by the Central Government.
''The Government agreed to this suggestion and proposed to effect inclusion of a bonus of Rs 50 per quintal over and above the MSP for paddy crop this year,'' he pointed out in his letter.
Mr Baalu also reiterated the request made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi that even this arrangement would be insufficient because of the recent spell of downpour in various parts of his state as well as the prevailing price situation and the increased cost of inputs for paddy cultivation.
''The cost of production of paddy is more than that of wheat, and still the increase in MSP for paddy is being kept much lower than that of wheat,'' he said.
Pointing out that the rice producing states in general, and the districts of Thanjavur, Tiruchirapalli, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu in particular, had witnessed extensive damage to the paddy crop, the DMK leader said the MSP for the crop during the current kharif season should be fixed at Rs 1,000 per quintal.