Chandigarh: Punjab has been conferred the Krishi Karman Award 2015-16 for best performance in raising country’s food grain production. Punjab Rural Development & Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa today received the award from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the function held in New Delhi.
The Krishi Karman Award, given by the central government every year to the best performing State for raising country’s food production which includes food grains and individual crops of rice, wheat, pulses and coarse cereals, comprises cash prize of Rs 2 crore, memento and citation.
Bajwa congratulated the farmers of Punjab for this rare achievement and said that it is due to their hard work that Punjab has the unsurpassable distinction of being the food bowl of the country.
Speaking on the side lines of the function, Bajwa said that agriculture sector is no more a profitable as MSP continues to be fixed on the basis of the decades old formula. He pointed out that farming in Punjab is different from the entire country due to its being capital intensive leading to high cost of input that is not being taken into account by the Commission for Costs and Prices while calculating MSP. The cost was much higher as compared to the prices that the farmers are getting. He said even drought has different meaning in Punjab as it only leads to higher cost of irrigation and hence production. These distinct aspects of Punjab farming must be taken into account by the centre.
He strongly urged the Modi government to fulfill its promise of implementation of Swaminathan report in totality to save the farmers of the country. He called upon the government to come out with a national policy to extend assured marketing support to facilitate diversification, especially in Punjab.
Bajwa said Punjab has become the worst victim of environmental degradation to the extent that even soil has turned toxic in the process of feeding the nation. He regretted that holistic view was not being taken of the situation in Punjab by the centre. The state was on the verge of turning barren in view of the drastically falling water table.
He demanded that the Centre should announce debt waiver scheme for the Punjab farmers who are committing suicides because of debt burden that had become a debt trap. The centre government should give liberal financial assistance to switch over to drip and sprinkle irrigation system to conserve water and rejuvenate the century year old canal system, he added.
Director Agriculture Jasbir Singh Bains said that Punjab was also awrded Krishi Karman award in the year 2013-14, 2012-13, 2011-12 and in 2010-11. Progressive farmers of the state were also honoured during these award ceremonies.