Tribune News Service
Amritsar, October 25
Former minister and MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu today urged the state government to formulate a common minimum programme for farm produce and procurement.
The lawmaker today visited his constituency and distributed food and blankets among the poor.
Launching a scathing attack on the Centre over the new farm laws, the cricketer-turned-politician asked the state government to take counter steps. He said with the enactment of the “draconian” laws, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) could not be pressed to lift the produce, which would make the minmum support price (MSP) and mandis redundant.
Pointing out the scarcity of government food storage silos in Punjab, he recommended that the state government should establish cold storage units to cater to rural belts. The Congress’ firebrand leader said if the Centre failed to offer the MSP, the state government should come to the rescue of farmers.
He recommended that the state government should form a ‘farm model’ based on the demand and supply in the state. “The state should adopt a ‘cooperative’ programme to counter the Centre’s ‘corporate’ culture. Of the 23 crops, the MSP is offered just on paddy and wheat. That’s the reason the farmers opt for these two crops only. Why not make farming of pulses, sugarcane, vegetables and fruits profitable. The state government can make it possible by constituting cooperatives by roping in farmers,” he said.
He said if crop diversification was made lucrative, Punjab would not have to import vegetables, fruits and pulses from other states. He said this step would also help to prevent depletion of water table as the paddy and wheat require a lot of water for irrigation.
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