State asks Centre to hike paddy MSP

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Tiruchirapalli, May 9: The Tamil Nadu Government has requested the Centre to hike the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy, State Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam said.

Inaugurating a four-day Agriculture Expo organised by 'Dinamalar' Tamil daily here last night, Mr Arumugam said ''Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has written to the Union Government seeking a hike in the MSP.

He had suggested the MSP of Rs 1,050 a quintal for fine variety and Rs 1,000 a quintal for ordinary variety of paddy,'' Mr Arumugam said.

The State had also taken up with the Centre and insurance companies the popular demand for compensating individual farmers for crop damages under the crop insurance scheme.

''We are expecting an order soon. Once it materialises, it would come as a big relief for farmers,'' he underlined.

He ruled out the possibility of any fertiliser shortage in the State. The government has allotted Rs 50 crore for importing di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) well ahead of the commencement of the agricultural season this year.

There were adequate stocks of all other fertilisers and farmers need not entertain any apprehension on this score, he saidm, adding the government had planned to bring about 7.50 lakh hectare under the System of Rice Intensification which offered a potential of achieving a productivity of up to 13 tonne per hectare.

Steps had been taken to increase the coverage and productivity of pulses, he said.

Mr Arumugam added the government had decided to procure pulses/millets and, if necessary, offer an incentive to help farmers get remunerative prices for their produce.

The government had decided to extend all concessions given to industries for agro-based ventures too, he informed.

Meanwhile, in address, State transport Minister K N Nehru said the government was striving to strengthen the storage, processing/marketing infrastructure and had allotted Rs 3,900 crore, an all time high, for the agriculture sector this year.

Mr R Ramasubbu, Associate Editor, Dinamalar, said the expo featured nearly 200 stalls put up by government organisations, manufacturers of farm implements and farm products from all over the country.

UNI

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