Malout (Muktsar): Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal today thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making "unprecedented" hike in the MSP of kharif crops, saying it will lead to a gain of Rs 4,500 crore for Punjab.
The former deputy chief minister also lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for not "bothering" to thank the prime minister for the "historic" jump in the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy and other kharif crops.
He was addressing farmers at a thanksgiving rally organised jointly by the SAD and the BJP to mark the "unprecedented" MSP hike.
The rally was presided over by Prime Minister Modi.
When former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was addressing the gathering, a group of five to six persons waved black flags.
"A group of five to six persons led by NSUI leader Akshay Sharma showed black flags to Badal. They were nabbed by Akali workers who then handed them over to the police," a SAD leader said.
Sukhbir Badal thanked Modi for coming to the aid of farmers who had been "cheated and betrayed" by the Congress party for 55 years.
"The Congress ruled for 55 years in the country but someone who understood the plight of farmers is PM Modi," he said, adding that the farmers "never" got remunerative prices during the Congress regime.
"Crop rates were sometimes raised by Rs 20, 30 or 40 per quintal during the Congress regime," he said.
"None did anything for the farmers and it is only Modi ji who promised 50 per cent profit on input costs and delivered on it as per the Swaminathan Commission report," he said.
Sukhbir Badal further said it was also for the first time that a formula had been set to calculate MSP of crops which would result in commensurate hikes in forthcoming years also.
The SAD president said, in case of paddy, an increase of Rs 200 per quintal would lead to Rs 6,000 per acre profit to farmers.
Similarly, cotton farmers would earn an additional Rs 10,000 per acre due to Rs 1,100 per quintal increase in the MSP, he said, adding that even 'arhatiyas' or agricultural produce commission agents would earn an additional Rs 100 crore and the Punjab government Rs 275 crore on account of market and rural development fee.
Sukhbir Badal said, "Punjab will gain to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore with the MSP hike."
"I am surprised that chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh did not bother to thank the PM even for once for this largesse", he added.
Sukhbir Badal also thanked Modi for giving Rs 40,000 crore to the state for road infrastructure. Besides, he also thanked the prime minister for Mohali and other airports, AIIMS at Bathinda, IIM at Amritsar, Rs 800 crore to sugarcane farmers and three food parks as well as 17 cold chains benefiting lakhs of farmers.
The SAD president also hailed Modi for doing away with GST burden on langar, and requested him to take steps to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Sukhbir Badal also sought justice for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, alleging the Congress of "orchestrating" them.
"We want justice for the anti-Sikh riots orchestrated by the Congress. We want arrest of those who were behind this," Sukhbir Badal said.
Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal termed the MSP felicitation function as "marking of a golden day for Punjab," saying the Congress rule had "demoralised farmers and driven them to suicide."
He said, in a complete contrast, PM Modi raised India's prestige in the world with his dynamic leadership.
"We can now say with pride that India has become an economic and military super power. What did not happen in 70 years has become a reality in four years," he added.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Punjab BJP president Shwait Malik, Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Vijay Sampla were among others present on the occasion.