Badal angry at Chidambaram's refusal for agri package

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Chandigarh, Jun 7 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the Centre's reported refusal to exclude the state from an agricultural package would not only dampen the morale of the farmers but would also have a negative impact on the farm sector as a whole.

Mr Badal was commenting on the statement of the Union Finance Minister P Chidambram ruling out any economic package for the Punjab farmers despite the record wheat production this year. The Minister had made this statement during his visit to the state yesterday to oversee the central farm loan waiver scheme.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also pressed for the inclusion of the state in National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Rice during the current Kharif session. He also demanded that the entire state be covered under NFSM for wheat.

He lamented that Punjab had been excluded from the mission which was aimed at improving the productivity of paddy in those districts which had less yield than the state's overall average. The central government had selected 133 districts of different state for implementing the National Mission on rice during the current Kharif session, but no district from Punjab has been included in this programme.

Nine districts of the state--- Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahar, Ropar, Mohali, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Kapurthala had recorded less yield of paddy than the state's average field last year.

Mr Badal said the state had overexploited groundwater resources to sustain the present productivity level. Besides, System of Rice-Intensification (SRI) had already been initiated in some districts like Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, and Amritsar and the results were quite encouraging, resulting in the saving of over 35 per cent of irrigation water and increase in its yield potential over the traditional methods of plantation.

NFSM-Wheat was being implemented in ten districts of the state for increasing the productivity and production of the crop. The state had implemented this programme with full vigor and spirit and that had resulted in tangible outcome in the concerned districts. In view of the demand of farmers, the same interventions had been made in the remaining 10 districts of the state, although it had to be done from the state's own resources.

UNI HS DB PDT RAI1846

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