High Input costs forcing farmers to abandon field: Kanwaljit

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Patiala, Feb 8 (UNI) Punjab Cooperation Minister Kanwaljit Singh said today that due to high rise in input costs, more than 2 lakh farmers have been forced to leave farming as their main profession in Punjab in the recent past.

While interacting with mediapersons here, Capt Singh said that about ten years back Punjab had 10 lakh farmers but as the farming has become a non-profitable venture due to high input costs, more than 2 lakh farmers have left the profession.

The situation was alarming to great extent because 80,000 out of those 2 lakh farmers were now forced to work as farm labourers, the minister said.

He said these figures were based on a report of Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana which has urged to take immediate steps to check this exodus in the agrarian state.

Despite Punjab being the major contributor to the food stocks of the nation, the Centre has been paying more attention to Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the minister alleged.

''Though Centre was assured some funds, going by the past experience it cannot be relied upon, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said adding that ''the time has now come for the Punjabis to struggle against the Centre to demand its share in Central funds,'' .

He said that Punjab Government, particularly Cooperative Department, has taken steps to help out the farming community by like promoting other occupations like dairy farming and horticulture.

Work for the food processing park at Ludhiana is going on and a plant for basmati rice is being set up at Nawansher, he added.

UNI XC JN AK HT2004

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