Punjab govt backs agitating farmers, Sidhu slams Centre

Patto (Fatehgarh Sahib): The Punjab government today came out in support of the state's agitating farmers as minister Navjot Singh Sidhu slammed the Centre for ignoring the agriculture sector.  A 10-day long nationwide agitation against the alleged anti-farmer practices of the Union government began today and as part of the protest, the supply of vegetables, fruits, milk and other items to various parts of Punjab and Haryana was stopped. 

In his unique way, the cricketer-turned-politician visited village Patto along with Congress MLAs Kuljit Singh Nagra and Gurpreet Singh and bought milk and vegetables from farmers to highlight their significant contribution in the development of the nation. 

"If the country is to be saved then saving farm sector ought to be a priority," Sidhu said adding that if the ruling NDA government at the Centre had fulfilled their pre-poll promises, the farmers would not have been in such a sorry state of affairs. Sidhu assured the protesting farmers that the Punjab government was sympathetic to their demands and stood shoulder to shoulder with them. 

The Punjab local bodies and tourism minister stressed that the Swaminathan Commission report was not being implemented and farmers were not getting adequate price for their crops, leading to escalation in farmer suicides.  Suggesting linkage of Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops with oil prices, the minister went on to say that in the last 25 years, oil prices increased twelve fold whereas the MSP increased by only five per cent. 

"When the price of petrol was Rs 20 per litre then the price of milk was Rs 16 a litre and now the price of petrol rose to Rs 80 whereas the price of milk stands at Rs 45 per litre," he said. Holding the Union government responsible for increasing oil prices, he said by reducing the prices of fuel by one paisa, the Centre played a cruel joke with the people of the country.

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