New Delhi, Sep 16 (UNI) Hundreds of farmers from Punjab today marched to Parliament demanding Minimum Support Price(MSP) for current paddy crop at Rs 1000 a quintal and notifying of Pusa 1121 paddy variety as Basmati with a fixed higher MSP to save growers from exploitation in the market.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union(BKU), which organised the march said Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) had already recommended Rs 1000 per quintal for the coarse varieties of paddy leaving a scope for high price for fine 'A' grade varieties.
Contending that the paddy growers deserve high prices, BKU president Balbir Singh Rajewal said the labour rates had shot up by three times as compared to last year and prices of other inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, insecticides and diesel, too, have gone up atleast by 60 per cent during the period.
"If expenses on growing paddy are calculated scientifically the cost of production comes as higher as Rs 1810 per quintal. And the farmers are, in fact, being made to subsidise the rice for the consumers of the country. But issue of subsidising the agriculture has always been provoking a strong reaction from the corridors of power as well as the trade", Mr Rajewal said.
The slogan-shouting protesters carrying banners and placards, who were stopped at Jantar Mantar by a big posse of police, later submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on their demands which also included ensuring of adequate supply of DAP fertilisers in Punjab as the wheat sowing season is round the corner.
The farmers also protested in Chanakyapuri area, housing Canadian High Commission taking strong objection to the reported comments of Canadian Chief Visa Officer in the Commission here that 'Punjabis are criminals'. With such perception around, as many as 90 per cent of applicants seeking Visa for Canada have been facing rejection for past long time.
The BKU also submitted a separate memorandum to the Prime Minister to this effect and sought his intervention in the matter.
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