Paddy growers feel the pinch of diesel price rise in Punjab - ECAS Punjab

Paddy growers feel the pinch of diesel price rise in Punjab

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Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 16

The rising diesel prices have state paddy growers on the tenterhooks. With diesel being used in large quantities — for aerating and field levelling for paddy transplantation — farmers in the state are feeling the pinch.

Withdraw hike: SAD

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday asked the Punjab CM to withdraw the steep increase in VAT on petrol and diesel. He also said the government should stop misleading farmers on recent ordinances related to agriculture and trade issued by the Centre.

Since June 7, the diesel price has shot up by Rs 4.14 per litre (from Rs 64.39 per litre to Rs 68.53 per litre today), while that of petrol has increased by Rs 4.95 per litre (from Rs 72.78 to Rs 77.03 per litre). Not just the Centre, the Punjab Government is also imposing a higher value added tax on these products, in spite of a dip in global crude oil prices.

"This time round, the agriculture sector is doomed," rues Kulwant Singh, a farmer from Kishangarh village in Mansa, highlighting the high input costs that farmers have to incur on paddy cultivation. "Labour rates have increased by 60- 70 per cent over the last year and the cost of pesticides has gone up by 15 per cent. Now, the zooming diesel price is giving sleepless nights to farmers," he said.

In Fazilka, Beera Kukar, a petroleum dealer, said till last year, whenever the prices of diesel would go up, unscrupulous retail fuel dealers from Rajasthan would start supplying diesel to farmers, as it was cheaper there. "But now, the Rajasthan border has been sealed and farmers have no option but to buy diesel here itself. Since the cost is rising steadily (by over 60 paisa per day since June 7), many farmers have failed to level their fields for paddy transplantation. This will have an adverse effect on the crop yield," he said.

Ramandeep Singh Mann, a farm activist, said a constant rise in the price of diesel had proved the anti-farmer stance of the Centre.

from The Tribune

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