Haryana CM ML Khattar had earlier accused the Congress government in Punjab of fuelling the farmers' protest.
In a rare show of a public spat, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar engaged in a war of words over the ongoing farmers’ protest and the recent scuffle between police and farmers in Karnal. Punjab CM Singh hit out at his Haryana counterpart saying that instead of apologising for an unprovoked and unjustified attack on farmers, the BJP CM is brazenly defending police action and trying to vindicate Karnal SDM’s shocking instructions to Haryana cops.
Khattar had earlier accused the Congress government in Punjab of fuelling the farmers’ protest. Two days ago, he took to Twitter to ask what Amarinder Singh’s government has done for the farmers. In his first tweet, Khattar questioned Punjab over grains covered under the MSP.
“Dear Amarinder Singh ji, Haryana procures 10 crops at MSP – paddy, wheat, mustard, bajra, gram, moong, maize, ground nut, sun flower, cotton and makes the MSP payment directly into the account of the farmer. How many crops does Punjab buy from the farmer at MSP?” said Khattar.
Dear @capt_amarinder ji,
1. Haryana procures 10 crops at MSP – paddy, wheat, mustard, bajra, gram, moong, maize, ground nut, sun flower, cotton and makes the MSP payment directly into the account of the farmer. How many crops does Punjab buy from the farmer at MSP?
— Manohar Lal (@mlkhattar) August 30, 2021
Khattar added, “Haryana provides an incentive of Rs 7000/- per acre to every farmer who wants to move away from paddy cultivation. What is the incentive that Punjab provides to the farmer similarly?”
To this, CM Singh said that Punjab leads in the procurement of wheat and paddy. “You don’t give single paisa to Haryana farmers in power subsidy ML Khattar ji. In Punjab, we give Rs 7200 Crore of (about Rs. 17000 per hac) every year for Agriculture pump-sets of farmers. As for MSP, we lead in procurement of wheat and paddy, so where’s the comparison?” he said.
You don't give single paisa to Haryana farmers in power subsidy @mlkhattar. In Punjab, we give Rs. 8218.16 Crore (about Rs. 60,000 per pump) every year for Agriculture pump-sets of farmers. As for MSP, we lead in procurement of wheat & paddy, so where's the comparison? 5/10
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 31, 2021
Singh added, “Besides procurement on MSP we gave additional Rs 1100 cr in Kharif and Rs 900 cr in Rabi seasons to manage seamless operations because of your BJP led GoI & FCI shoddy management. You mess up things & we have to pay for it, ML Khattar ji,” he said.
Countering the alternative crop promotion subsidy, the Punjab CM said, “We’ve given crores to Cotton & Maize growers in Punjab in last 3 years to promote alternative crops. We also give Rs. 4.00 per unit of electricity to farmers who save electricity by adopting water conservation techniques & sowing alternative crops, ML Khattar ji.”
The Punjab CM also claimed that BJP colluded with Akali Dal for 10 years to ruin Punjab’s economy and yet the Congress government waived off Rs 4624.38 crore debt of 5,64,143 small and marginal farmers and sanctioned Rs 590 crore for 2.85 lac landless farmers and labourers. “So stop talking nonsense ML Khattar ji,” said the Punjab CM.
Khattar has also questioned Singh over interest to farmers. “Haryana pays interest at 12% to the farmer in case payment is delayed beyond 72 hours from the approval if the I-form. Does Punjab pay interest on delayed payment?” said the Haryana CM.
Khattar also claimed that Haryana pays an incentive of Rs 5000 per acre to the farmer who adopts direct seeding of rice technology. “What incentive does Punjab give?” asked Khattar.
To this, CM Singh said, “We don’t need to pay interest because we pay farmers directly into their accounts within 72 hours. It is your govt’s poor management of the procurement process & your apathetic attitude towards the farmers which causes the payment delay in the first place ML Khattar ji.”
The Haryana CM also said that his government pays every farmer Rs 1000 per acre for stubble management and provides linkages for the sale of paddy straw and questioned the Punjab government over the incentive.
CM Singh countered the claim with his per acre subsidy remark. “What’s this Rs 1000/acre for stubble management that you’re tom-tomming about ML Khattar ji? We give Rs 2500 per acre, which amounted to Rs 19.93 crore in FY20, given that 31,231 farmers were benefitted,” he said.
Manohar Lal Khattar also said that Haryana has been paying the highest MSP in the country for sugarcane to its farmers for the last 7 years. “Why has Punjab felt the need to match Haryana only after an agitation by farmers?” said Khattar referring to the recent protest by farmers in Jalandhar where the blocked highways and train tracks demanding an increase in cane prices and payment of pending dues.
Khattar also said, “Haryana supports farmers growing horticultural produce by instituting the Bhawantar Bharpayee Yojana to insulate the farmer from price variations below cost. What incentive does Punjab provide to its horticulture farmers?…Haryana has started a micro-irrigation scheme to support farmers with 85% subsidy to manage precious water for irrigation. What incentive does Punjab provide, and is it even concerned about the rapidly depleting water table that will finish the farmer?”. Khattar then asked who is anti-farmer – Haryana or Punjab?
To this, Punjab CM Singh said that his government has not only matched but exceeded Haryana’s sugarcane MSP. “Check facts before shooting off ML Khattar ji. We’ve not matched but exceeded Haryana’s sugarcane MSP & are at top of states’ table with @ Rs. 360/quintal cane SAP for crushing season 2021-22. We’d have hiked it even more had your BJP left us with some money,” said Singh.
The Punjab CM said that the BJP’s attempt to cover up the atrocities against ‘peaceful farmers with tall pro-farmer claims is pathetic’. “Your data crunching won’t condone your govt’s crimes against farmers in Haryana,” said Singh. He also asked that if the BJP government has done so much for farmers then why’re the farmers of Haryana angry with the government.
It may be recalled that farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting for the last 9 months demanding a legal guarantee for MSP and repeal of the three new agri laws which have been put on hold by the Supreme Court.