Centre has adopted 'step-motherly' attitude towards Punjab: Rajnat

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New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) BJP president Rajnath Singh today told a rally of farmers from Punjab here that the Centre had adopted a 'step-motherly' attitude against the state that led to pauperisation of farmers.

Sharing the stage with its allies, Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD), including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the BJP president said it was painful to note that the cost of all the agricultural inputs had increased manifold but the MSP had not been raised proportionately. The repeated demand that MSP should be linked with the price index had always been ignored.

''It is surprising that the government had to import wheat at a much higher price as compared to the price given to our own farmers.

Such ad hoc policies have led to the ruination of farmers. The Centre just overlooked the plight of the farmers in Punjab while announcing a package for the farmers in other states. This discrimination must end,'' he said to the farmers at the ''Insaf Rally''.

Thousands of farmers were transported by buses and other vehicles from Punjab jointly by the ruling Akalis and the BJP to Ram Lila grounds.

The Punjab Chief Minister said the agricultural development of the state was geared to meet food grain demand of the country. The state was encouraged to increase food grain production by putting larger cultivated area under food grain.

Currently nearly 80 per cent of the land is under food crops, predominantly, wheat and paddy. At the expense of over exploitation of water and land resources, the state had contributed nearly 34 per cent of rice and 75.3 per cent of wheat to the central pool in 2005-06. The state had emerged as a food basket of the country.

The ground water resources of the state were fast depleting and going by the figures available till 2004, in as much as 84.6 per cent of area in central Punjab, the water table had reached the critical depth of more than 10 meters, 36.6 per cent area up to more than 15 meters and 12.5 per cent area with water depth of 20 meters, Mr Badal added.

Newly-elected SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said between 1980 and 2006, the decline in water table on cummulative basis had been more than 9 meters. Declining water table was putting high capital cost on the farmers for deepening bores and installation of submersible pumps. The number of such pumps was increasing very fast, each involving an expenditure of Rs 80,000 to Rs 1,00,000.

The estimated cost for these pumps on farmers would be Rs 4000 crore by the year 2010, the SAD President added.

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