Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today extended full support to the state’s dairy farmers, saying his government would adopt all possible measures to ensure that the business is not hit due the new central government rules. Expressing solidarity with the dairy farmers, who have strongly opposed the ‘tyrannical’ rules in a recent notification issued by the environment ministry, he said dairy farming is a big business for the farming community in Punjab and could not be allowed to suffer as a result of the new regulations. The new rules relate to a notification amending certain rules pertaining to ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’. Terming the move as “anti-farmer”, Amarinder in a release said — for the farming community, already reeling under severe crisis as a result of massive debt burdens, these rules could prove “disastrous”. As one of India’s leading states for cattle breeding and supply, Punjab has a flourishing Rs 2,500 crore dairy business, which it could ill-afford to lose, he added. Dairy farming was a major source of income for the state’s farmers, Amarinder pointed out, adding that his government is working towards further augmenting the business to make it even more lucrative for the farmers in the state.
With many landless farmers also engaged in dairy farming, any rule making it necessary for a person to possess farm land in order to buy and sell cattle would come as a huge setback to the business, the chief minister observed. Given the “stringent “formalities being introduced by the new rules, it could also lead to corruption and ‘inspector raj’, as apprehended by the farmers, he said, asserting that his government had adopted a zero-tolerance policy to corruption. The chief minister’s statement came a day after he approved a series of incentives and measures to encourage farmers in Punjab to adopt allied sectors like dairy farming to supplement their income.
Amarinder, a strong advocate of crop diversification as the only real and long-term solution to the problems of the state’s farmers, had on Wednesday called for strong steps to motivate the farmers to go beyond production into direct marketing of milk and milk products, fish and meat & meat products.