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SC seeks, Centre, Punjab, Haryana's response on PIL for fixing MSP for alternative crops higher than paddy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre, Punjab and Haryana governments on a plea seeking to fix the minimum support price (MSP), including the increase of the same from time to time for the alternative crops grown by farmers and procurement of the same by the government.
A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan issued a notice to the Centre, States of Punjab, and Haryana, pollution control boards, agriculture Universities, and ICAR and asked them to file their replies.
The bench has now posted the matter for hearing in the second week of July.
The petition by advocate Charanpal Singh Bagri sought to fix the minimum support price for "alternative crops" higher than the MSP of paddy.
"Farmers of Punjab, Haryana are helpless to grow crops of wheat and paddy as same have MSP and procured by the government, despite of the fact that crop of paddy has primarily created threefold hurdles, fast depletion of underground drinkable water, pollution due to stubble or paddy straw burning, and creation of financial burden on the State for storing excess paddy during the paddy season," Bargi said.
He added that farmers, therefore, should be provided new crops as per geographical location and quality of soil by fixing the MSP of each and every crop.
It was also prayed in the petition that the agricultural universities should provide a new variety of seeds of pluses and other crops which are imported from foreign countries.
"The MSP should be at higher rates and a condition may be imposed that farmers should use a limited prescribed quantity of pesticides so that organic crops may be provided to the citizens," Bagri suggested.
In the absence of MSP and procurement by the government, the condition of farmers is miserable, who are helpless to commit suicide, he added.

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