The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, December 29
The Punjab government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has taken pro-farmer decisions for the welfare of the farmers of the State in the year 2022.
Giving this information, Punjab Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said that the state government had so far released an amount of Rs. 31.70 crore to the kin of 634 farmers, Rs. 5 lakh to each family, who were martyred during the farmers’ agitation. Similarly, as many as 326 family members of the said farmers have been provided government jobs in various departments while the verification process for giving jobs to 98 members is completed whereas the process for government jobs to 210 others is underway, said Dhaliwal.
The Minister also mentioned that the State Government had also fixed Minimum Support Price of Rs. 7275 for per quintal of moong crop under which Rs. 61.85 crore had also been transferred directly to the bank accounts of 15737 farmers. He said that this initiative of Punjab Government was taken to boost the crop diversification, which was received excellent response.
Referring to the Direct Sowing of Paddy, the Minister said that the Punjab Government was encouraging the farmers adopt practice of direct sowing of paddy to save precious natural resource as well as protecting the depleting water table. He said that the State Government had disbursed payments worth Rs. 25.06 crore to farmers against the total land earmarked during kharif-2022 i.e. 1.69 lakh acres under Rs. 1500 per acre scheme for direct sowing. Punjab Government has increased the sugarcane price by adding Rs. 20 besides releasing Rs. 492 crore to cooperative and private sugar mills so that the payments to be given to the sugarcane growers.
Describing agriculture as a vital part of the State’s economy, Dhaliwal said that Punjab had contributed in the national food kitty thus paving a way to make the country self-reliant on food security front for the last five decades and has maintained sufficient food stock for the country. During the year 2021-22, Punjab has contributed 31% wheat and 21% rice of the country’s food reserves. He said that geographically, Punjab has an area of 50.33 lakh hectares, of which about 41.27 lakh hectares are used for agriculture. He said that the irrigation was being carried out in 40.74 lakh hectares (98.9 percent) while the crop intensity of the state was more than 189 percent. It produces about 18 percent of wheat, 11 percent of rice and 4 percent of cotton, 10 percent of milk, 20 percent of honey and 48 percent of mushrooms in the country.
The Agriculture Minister said that crop diversification was one of the major focus areas of the state government so that the area under paddy-wheat cropping system could be reduced and groundwater was protected. Special efforts are being made to increase the area under low water consumption crops like cotton, maize, oilseeds and pulses. He said that in the year 2021 the area under edible oil crops was 31600 hectares which registered an increase to 43900 hectares in the year 2022. He said that apart from providing subsidy on crop residue management equipment, the Punjab government is encouraging the farmers to adopt the latest agri-inputs and techniques to get more benefits by mechanized crop residue management besides saving time and energy.
Dhaliwal further said that the state government is making concerted efforts to manage straw waste. He said that as a result of the government’s efforts, the number of farm fires has reduced to 49,922 in 2022 from 71,304 in 2021, which is about 30 percent less.