Baghel vows to fulfil promises made to farmers

 Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. (PTI file photo)

The Congress government is committed to fulfil all promises made to Chhattisgarh farmers, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said on Monday in the assembly as he lashed at the Centre for not procuring paddy at the rate determined by the state.

The winter session of the assembly began on a stormy note over the issue of paddy procurement.

The House witnessed uproarious scenes on the first day of the session with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi) and the Bahujan Samaj Party demanding immediate discussion on the issue by moving an adjournment Motion.

Speaker Charandas Mahant later took up the issue for discussion.

Replying to the discussion on the adjournment motion, Baghel said the state government is committed to fulfil all pre-poll promises made to farmers.

Despite repeated requests, the Centre was not ready to cooperate with the government for procuring paddy at the rate of Rs 2,500 per quintal from Chhattisgarh farmers, he said.

Besides, the Centre was also not willing to but rice of the state for the central pool, the chief minister said.

We bowed down to satisfy the ego of the Centre and decided to purchase paddy at the rate fixed by the central government from December 1," he said.

Baghel, however, asserted his government is committed to provide Rs 2,500 per quintal for paddy to farmers.

The Centre has fixed support price at Rs 1,815 per quintal for common grade paddy and Rs 1,835 for grade A paddy. But we are going to constitute a cabinet sub-committee for analysing how to pay the difference in amount (to make it Rs 2,500 a quintal) to farmers through other resources," he said.

This panel, which will include ministers of forest, agriculture, cooperative and higher education, will study how the balance amount (the gap between the state and Centre's rates) could be paid to farmers, he said.

The chief minister asserted the state government will not allow any injustice against farmers.

Earlier, taking part in the discussion, Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik of the BJP accused the Congress government of ignoring farmers.

Over 60 per cent of the paddy has been harvested but despite a good crop, the financial condition of farmers remains dismal due to delay in procurement, he said.

Now farmers are compelled to sell their produce to middlemen at throwaway prices, the BJP leader said.

The Congress was elected to power after making promise of purchasing paddy at the rate of Rs 2,500 per quintal, but it was now backtracking from its assurance, Kaushik said.

Farmers are bearing the brunt of "wrong" policies of the state government, he alleged.

Baghel took over as chief minister in December 2018 after the Congress won the assembly polls with a thumping majority, ending 15-year rule of the BJP.

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