The State is major contributor of wheat, rice to national pool

“Punjab farm sector be assured with free electricity and subsidized agro inputs”

“State govt. must be reimbursed Rs.3160 crore spent on farmers till Punjab becomes an SAZ”

Jalalabad: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday demanded that his State be declared a Special Agricultural Zone (SAZ) on the pattern of SEZ it was contributing 70 per cent wheat and 40 per cent rice to the national pool.

Talking to media at village Bahmani Wala here, he said that 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 of increase in population.

He said that on the corporate pattern of SEZs, Punjab should be declared SAZ with assured free power supply to the farm sector, tax-free subsidized agro inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and diesel, assured marketing and export of agro produce at price linked rates besides revitalizing its age old canal irrigation system at the cost of Rs.3400 crore.

Demanding from the Union government the reimbursement of Rs.3160 crore being spent by the State government in giving free power to the farm sector till Punjab is declared an SAZ, Mr. Badal said that Punjab was giving free power to farmers to enable them to contribute major share of wheat and rice to the Central pool to make India self sufficient on food security front.

He said that the Punjab government should not be penalized to bear the load of Rs.3160 crore subsidies that it gave to farmers to fulfil the national objectives.

He said that the agri-sector all over the world gets subsidy from the Union governments and even the US government subsidizes its farmers to the extent of 70 per cent or more to keep their produce competitive in the world market. --PTI