Chandigarh: Criticising the Centre's for its "anti-farmer" policies, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday demanded a hike in MSP for wheat for the coming Rabi season.

Rejecting the proposal of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) to freeze the minimum support price of wheat, Badal demanded it to be fixed at Rs 1,800 per quintal against the Rs 1,285 per quintal fixed last year.

Badal also termed as meager the Rs 40 per quintal bonus announced by the Centre on wheat during Rabi season for 2013-14.

The Chief Minister said the MSP of Rs 1,285 per quintal on wheat was much below the expectations of the farmers. There cannot be any justification to deprive the local producers of the same price as the country has been importing wheat from Australia at much higher prices, he said.

Badal claimed that the decisions will have far-reaching repercussions on the farming community which is already reeling under heavy debt due to wrong policies of the Centre. The "apathetic attitude" of the Congress-led UPA government towards agriculture stands exposed with these decisions, the Chief Minister said.

Rather than bailing out the farmers in this hour of crisis, the Centre is "rubbing salt" on their wounds by announcing a paltry bonus of Rs 40 per quintal, he said, adding that before taking decisions, the government should have assess the overall scenario of the farm sector.

Badal sought an explanation from the UPA leadership over shrinking profits of farmers due to faulty MSP policies, and asked the Centre not to take politically-driven decisions on agriculture.

He also asked the Centre to implement agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan's formula to hike MSP by providing a margin of 50 percent over the cost of production to the farmers to ensure  remunerative prices of their produce.


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