Chandigarh, Jun 10 (IANS): Amidst the rift between the Haryana government and farmers over the procurement rate of the sunflower crop, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday said his government is studying the market for adequately compensating sunflower growers.
While digitally releasing Rs 29.13 crore as an interim 'bharpai' (compensation) to 8,528 sunflower farmers growing the crop on 36,414 acres of land, the Chief Minister gave a clear message that some people are trying to create confusion among the farmers claiming that his government does not care for the farmers.
"I would like to clarify that despite challenges, the Centre or the state government is taking pro-farmer policies."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done remarkable work for the welfare of farmers, he said, adding: "Increasing the minimum support price (MSP) every year is a clear indicator that the Prime Minister-led Central government is pro-farmer friendly."
While clarifying the ongoing tussle between sunflower farmers and the government regarding fixing the MSP of the oilseed, the Chief Minister said that "earlier when we procured the millet on the MSP, it was found later that farmers of other states are also selling their crops in our markets. This created an issue of interstate smuggling".
"Now a similar possibility is arising in the sunflower procurement. As a precaution, we have announced the interim abharpai' (of Rs 1,000) as the market rates keep on fluctuating."
The government has included sunflower in the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana under which farmers will be paid Rs 1,000 per quintal if produce is selling below the MSP.
The Chief Minister said at present the procurement of sunflower is being done at Rs 4,800 in Haryana, while Punjab it is at Rs 4,000-4,200.
Contrary to the Chief Minister's assertions, protesting farmers have been saying that they are being forced to sell their produce to private buyers at Rs 4,000 a quintal against the MSP of Rs 6,400, as announced for the crop by the Central government for 2022-23.
Urging the farmers not to fall prey to anyone who is trying to mislead them, the Chief Minister said some farmer unions and political leaders are defaming the name of farmers by misleading them.
"Blocking highways is not the solution to everything. In a democracy, we can't hinder anyone's freedom. We have done a lot for the farmers. We held positive talks with the farmers. The court order also said that the matter should be resolved amicably. The police followed the court's decision. I urge the farmers that this agitation is not going to help them anyway. The decision would be taken as per the market rate," he said.
The Chief Minister said to date Rs 23,500 crore was given to farmers as subsidy and compensation.
Divulging details, he said Rs 4,287 crore was given under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. An amount of Rs 6,189 crore was given under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. Also Rs 103 crore was given for stubble management, Rs 118 crore for crop diversification and Rs 883 crore under the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana.
Comparing the compensation amount given during the present government tenure and the Congress, the Chief Minister said his government has given Rs 9,790 crore as compensation, while in Congress tenure of 10 years it was Rs 1,158 crore.
"Unlike the Congress, we never gave compensation cheques of Rs 2. We ensure a minimum compensation of Rs 500 to the farmers," said Khattar.
He said this was the first time that the sunflower crop was brought under the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana.
Currently, the government is facing protests from sunflower growers.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait has threatened a larger agitation than the year-long protest against the now repealed farm laws if the government did not announce a legal guarantee of the MSP for procurement of crops.