Chandigarh, October 29 – The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab has blamed the Central and state governments for ruining basmati growers in the state as their produce was lying in a state of utter neglect at various state mandis. The party has demanded that the state government should direct its Procurement Agency – the Markfed – to visit various mandis and protect the interests of the basmati growers, adding that it should announce its own Minimum Support Price (MSP) for basmati.
In a statement issued from party headquarters on Thursday, party’s Kisan Wing President and MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan said that due to the anti-farmer policies of the state and union governments, Basmati brand of rice was allowed to lie in a state neglect. He added that it was basmati growers in the state today, tomorrow when the Modi government’s black laws on agriculture came into force, it would the wheat and paddy growers who would be subjected to face a similar situation at the hands of the private players.
The AAP MLA said that basmati, especially grown in Amritsar, Ferozepur and Tarn Taran areas was in much demand not only in the country but also across the world. He lamented that had the Union government been far-sighted and pro-farmer, it would have announced MSP not only on basmati, but other crops as well. Sandhwan said that the decades-old long demand of the basmati growers had been sympathetically considered neither the Modi government at the Centre nor by the previous Congress and SAD-BJP led governments, by ignoring the inclusion of basmati in the list of MSPs.
Kultar Singh Sandhwan demanded from the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to promote Basmati in Punjab as an alternative to paddy by ensuring its own MSP on Basmati and asking Markfed to visit various mandis ensuring government procurement of the brand.
Sandhwan urged the Punjab government to formulate a standing policy for the sale of Basmati all across foreign market, the Basmati, ensuring better price for the brand which was currently fetching a meagre Rs 2,400 per quintal in the domestic market.