Pawar increases support of agri produce to a new height: NCP

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Patna, Apr 21 (UNI) The NCP today criticised the Opposition for blaming Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar for the soaring prices of essential commodities.

They said it was Mr Sharad Pawar who had provided benefits to the farmers by enhancing the support price of agricultural produce.

Mr Pawar's party, the Nationalist Congress Party, is in the ruling coalition at the Centre.

NCP national delegate and member of the party's national committee Prof Navin Kumar said here that the support price of paddy, wheat and other such yields had taken a new height because of the efforts of Mr Pawar. The farmers were enjoying the benefits.

''This apart, the waiving of farmers' loans, which was an outcome of the sincere initiative of the Union Agriculture Minister, is benefiting the farmers,'' he said.

Highlighting the steps taken by Mr Pawar in the interest of farmers, Prof Kumar said it seemed the Opposition was either 'ignorant' of government steps or was trying to utilise the issue of price rise as a 'tool' to grab power at the Centre.

He claimed it was the agriculture sector in which the farmers, and in turn the nation, was self dependent. The credit for this goes to Mr Pawar while in other sectors the country was still lagging far behind, he remarked.

Prof Kumar admitted the rising prices of essential commodities like salt, sugar, steel and building construction materials was a matter of serious concern. The escalating prices could be controlled either by slashing taxes or enhancing the subsidy on the products.

''Apart from this, the government should keep a hawk's eye on the hoarders and blackmarketers,'' he said and appealed to the state governments to cooperate.

He further said Mr Pawar had launched several schemes aimed at the welfare of farmers. He, however, said agriculture being an unorganised sector, the benefits the farmers were getting was unassessed.

UNI RS-KKS PL KK BST1710

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