Chandigarh: Amid empty Opposition benches, the Punjab  Assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution asking the Centre to help the state in promoting farm diversification.

The assembly also demanded a technology mission for 'Diversification of Agriculture with an allocation of Rs 5,000 crore for Green Revolution states on the pattern of 'Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India' (BGREI) in the 12th Five Year Plan. A resolution to this effect was moved by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the floor of the House. Earlier Congress had walked out of the House after suspension of its MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh Sodhi for allegedly hurling abusives at Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
The resolution also requested the Centre to release the relief package forthwith as promised to bail out farmers in the state and the government in the wake of drought-like conditions during Kharif 2012.

The package included relief of Rs 3,000 per hectare to farmers to save their paddy crops, Rs 1,530 crore to compensate the state government for supplying additional power to farmers in nurturing their paddy by purchasing it from the other states. On the need to diversify agriculture in the state, the resolution mentioned that due to constant increase in costs of agriculture inputs and subsequent non-remunerative Minimum Support Price (MSP) has rendered the traditional wheat-paddy cycle non-profitable.
Punjab farmers were reeling under heavy debts to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore. Continuous sowing of paddy has resulted in the depletion of the ground water and it was the need of the hour to switch over to other alternative crops from the conventional wheat-paddy rotation. The state farmers should be motivated in this hour of crisis as now it was a payback time for the Centre to acknowledge services rendered by farmers by giving them their due share, who made concerted efforts to make our country surplus in food grains production, the resolution said.

The resolution said whenever farmers faced any hardship, the Centre always shun from its duty.  When the state faced acute shortage of rainfall to the extent of 65-70 percent in the month of July-August during Kharif-2012 and Punjab farmers were facing severe drought across the state. The resolution also emphasised on the need of comprehensive diversification programme to effectively tackle the farm crisis.


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