Chandigarh: Former union minister and Bathinda mp Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said chief minister Bhagwant Mann was implementing the central government agenda to end the minimum support price (MSP) regime on paddy by directing the State Advocate General to recommend the same to the Supreme Court during a hearing on air pollution in Delhi.
Asserting that this was tantamount to taking Punjab back fifty years and striking a dire blow on its agricultural economy, the Bathinda mp said “Punjab has functioned as the food bowl of the country since the last fifty years. We are major contributors to the public distribution system (PDS). Now an effort is afoot to phase out paddy production in Punjab by putting an end to the MSP regime, in the same manner in which the central government had sought to do so earlier by bringing in the three agricultural laws. Though the laws were repealed after 650 farmers were martyred in the Kisan Andolan, now the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is set to implement the centre’s agenda by unilaterally recommending phasing out of paddy cultivation in Punjab”.
Stating that such a step would not only result in the destruction of the State’s agricultural economy, Mrs Harsimrat Badal said it would also throw farmers into penury and increase farmer suicides. “We will not let this anti- Punjab step to be implemented at any cost. I urge Punjabis to confront AAP legislators and ask them why they are bent on destroying the State’s agricultural economy as well as the agri-marketing system which took decades to perfect. This includes creating grain markets, storage spaces and rural link roads – all done by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal”.
Asserting that instead of selling out the interests of Punjab, the chief minister should tell why he did not facilitate creation of the necessary biomass factories to manage paddy stubble as promised. She said farmers were also not given compensation to manage stubble nor were adequate machines provided for the same. “Even the much touted chemical advocated as a panacea to manage stubble by AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal has not been introduced in Punjab ”.
Stating that she had been making Punjabis aware of AAP’s insidious conspiracies against Punjab since 2022, Mrs Badal said “this is the second time AAP has compromised the interests of Punjab in the Supreme Court. Earlier the government had claimed that it was ready to construct the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal but for protests from the opposition. This as well as the party’s sell out on Chandigarh with the chief minister refusing to take a stand against the proposal to grant land in the union territory to Haryana for a separate Vidhan Sabha proves that the chief minister is weakening Punjab’s stand on all crucial issues which concern its welfare”.
Mrs Badal said paddy cultivation was linked with the very livelihoods of farmers of the State. “It is due to this crop that farmers are able to run their households and look after their families. Assured msp on paddy means assured income and stability. We will not allow this stability to be wreaked”.