Chandigarh, Nov 17 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today described the Central Government's announcement of bonus of Rs 50 per quintal on paddy as "woefully inadequate", saying it was no answer to agony of farming community.
Instead, the Centre should have announced an increase of Rs 150 per quintal in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy, he said in a statement here.
The Chief Minister said that non-remunerative MSP coupled with anti-farmer stance of Centre was primarily responsible for decline in growth rate of agriculture sector.
He said though he had pleaded the case of Punjab's beleaguered peasantry, which was in great distress, and demanded MSP of at least Rs 1200 per quintal for wheat, yet he could secure a hike of Rs 250 only.
"It is a paradoxical situation that the MSP demanded by farming community was still lower than the price at which the country was importing wheat from Australia and there is no reason to deny the same price to the local producers", Mr Badal said.
Mr Badal rued that the decision on bonus on paddy was delayed and taken under the pressure of market forces.
Describing it as a "cruel joke" with farmers, the Chief Minister said the Centre should have realized the sad plight of farmers, which compelled them to take extreme step like suicide.
"Center's deliberate denial of financial package to Punjab on Vidharbha pattern is a pointer towards the apathetic and step motherly treatment meted out to the Punjabi farmers", asserted Mr Badal.