Jalalabad, Aug 31 (ANI): Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has demanded the Central Government to declare Punjab as Special Agricultural Zone (SAZ) on the lines of Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
Punjab having 1.3 per cent geographical area of the country was contributing 70 per cent wheat and 40 per cent rice in the national pool.
Interacting with media at Village Bahmani Wala near Jalabad, Sukhabir, said: "The Union Government should recognise the role of Punjab in making India self-sufficient on food security front and time has come that it should come out with a long term package to enable Punjab farmers to increase agricultural production to meet the demand."
He said on the corporate pattern of SEZs, the entire Punjab should be declared as SAZ with free power supply to the farms, tax-free on fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and diesel.
The plan would help to increase the marketing and export of agro products at price-linked rates, Sukhbir added.
He demanded the Union government to reimburse Rs 3160 crore being spent by the state government to provide free power to the farms, and also Rs 3400 crore to revitalize the old canal irrigation system.
Drawing attention of the people on the NASA's warning that the increasing use of ground water would convert Punjab into a desert, Sukhbir urged the people not to exploit ground water.
Sukhbir expressed confidence that, with the hard work and determination of farmers coupled with support of state government, would exceed the last year's production target and achieve a record production of 140 Lakh Metric Tonnes of paddy this year. (ANI)