Sunday, October 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Free power after economy revives: CM
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 26
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said here today that free power for agriculture would be restored after the economy of the state revived as the Congress stood committed to promises made in its manifesto.

He said though the state government was giving electricity worth Rs 1,380 crore to farmers every year, they were being charged only a part of it and annual collection for the same would be around Rs 380 crore. The moment the state’s economy got back on the rails, the farmers would get free power again. If farmers were given free power now, there would be no power in future, he added.

The Chief Minister said the government would also provide seeds of Bt cotton to the farmers next year to launch its cultivation in the state formally.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who visited some cotton farms and listened to problems of farmers, addressing a gathering at a regional kisan mela here pointed out that the Agriculture Department and Punjab Agriculture University had conducted trials on Bt cotton. He said new hybrid seeds of cotton crop were also being developed for boosting production in the cotton belt.

While admitting the fact that some of the farmers had cultivated Bt cotton this year also by procuring seeds on their own, he said some of the varieties of Bt cotton had been identified to be introduced in the state.

The Chief Minister while alleging that suicides in the cotton belt were due to the apathetic attitude of the previous SAD-BJP government towards their problems and sale of ‘sub-standard’ pesticides, being manufactured in the factories of kith and kin of previous government. He said the cotton crop would be revived in the entire cotton belt in a phased manner.

Improved seeds of different crops would be given to farmers under the contract farming system being introduced in the state in phased manner, he said.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was accompanied by Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, High Powered Committee on Finance, Punjab, Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, PPCC, Mr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agriculture University, and Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Mr Gurjant Singh, MLAs, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, former minister, disclosed that the government had initiated efforts to set up agro-based industry in a big way. For this talks with NRIs were on.

He said after the demand of all produces of farmers was increased, the government would start determining minimum support price (MSP) of such commodities and it would not be at the mercy of the Centre for the same.

He alleged that so far the Centre had not paid a single penny to the government for making payments to farmers against drought relief. He said even Akali leaders, including former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, tried their best to delay the announcement of the (MSP) for paddy and subsequently its procurement. A fresh petition for adjudication on share of river water between Punjab and Haryana would be filed in Supreme Court shortly, he added.

Mr Surinder Singla pointed out that farmers of Punjab had spent Rs 10,000 crore on paddy cultivation and the total worth of paddy produced in the state, which was more than the paddy production of last year, was around Rs 6,500 crore. In this way, the farmers of Punjab had paid indirect subsidy of Rs 3,500 crore to the Centre and hence they should be compensated for it.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |