Punjab seeks funds from Central government for drought relief

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New Delhi, Aug 27 (ANI): Punjab has asked the central government for a drought relief package of 74.1 billion rupees.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal disclosed this while talking to reporters here on Wednesday.

Badal said that a memorandum has been submitted to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which the state government has pointed out that farmers suffered huge losses due to scanty rainfall and delayed monsoon.

"This is for the first time that there is drought in Punjab due to less of rainfall. Normally, we get rainfall during the months of May and June. But this year, there has been an alarming 70 percent of decrease in the monsoon showers," he added.

He further said that due to the scanty rainfall, the water levels of the reservoirs and dams had fallen down to 60 to 70 feet. The farmers suffered due to shortage of electricity to run pumps as an alternate means of irrigation for their fields.

Badal has sought revision of the procurement prices of foodgrains.

"In normal conditions when there is adequate rainfall, the centre should offer 300 to 400 MSP (Minimum Support Price), as there is a price rise situation in the state and also because there is no formula for agricultural produce price fixation as yet," he said.

He also mentioned that the central government has been enlightened about the dire need to save the farmers from the repayment of loans as this year's sowing of seeds and cultivation in the Kharif season have become a disaster due to inadequate rains.

Earlier in the day, Badal met Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and apprised him about the grave scenario on the farm front in Punjab. (ANI)

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