Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Sunday announced freight subsidy for transportation of potato crop in domestic as well as export markets, but potato growers turned down the offer saying it would not bail them out of crisis.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal directed State Rural Development Board to immediately release Rs 2 crore from the Rural Development Fund (RDF) to Markfed to implement freight subsidy scheme for interstate movement and export of potatoes, an official release said.

However, Jalandhar Potato Growers’ Association, President J S Sangha said, "We do not accept the meager amount of freight subsidy offered by the Punjab government as it will not be helpful for us."

Describing the freight subsidy as a "cruel joke", he said they would go ahead with their agitation on December 15.

On Saturday, potato growers had decided to throw potato on roads in Jalandhar on December 15 to protest fall in the crop's price to as low as Re 1 per kg and "insensitive" attitude of state government.

State government has offered freight subsidy of 0.50 paise per kg for marketing of potatoes within country and Rs 1.5 per kg for export, a senior official of Markfed said.

However, farmers were demanding that the state government must provide freight subsidy of Re 1 per kg on marketing of old crop in domestic market and Rs 2 per kg for export.

(Agencies)