Sri Muktsar Sahib, January 12, 2013: In a major development to boost the Animal Husbandry sector in the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced that the State government would soon formulate a policy to undertake free insurance of the livestock sector in the state.
Presiding over the valedictory function of the five day 6th National Livestock Championship-2013, here at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium, the Chief Minister also asked the Animal Husbandry Department to prepare a complete directory of the elite cattle/animal which have participated and won prizes in the National Championships and other State or district level competitions held from time to time along with photographs of animals and their owners with complete information relating to the breed and address. This initiative would help the state in having complete record of the best quality animals/cattle in the state besides giving in an opportunity to the livestock owners to further improve the quality of these animals through cross breeding especially to encourage the dairy sector.
The Chief Minister also appreciated the efforts of Animal Husbandry Department in motivating the owners of best quality animals from different parts of the country to exhibit them here so that they could interact with other owners to share their experiences to further improve the breed of the cattle. The Chief Minister said that Punjab was the first state in the country to enact Herd Registration Act to give a fillip to the best quality cattle and animals in the state. He said the people from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have evinced keen interest to participate in this Championship along with their animals. Their overwhelming interest in such championships was evident from the fact that this year 5000 animals have participated as compared to 3000 during the last year. He said cash prizes worth Rs. 1.25 crore have been disbursed amongst the various categories of the best cattle/animal. He also announced that from the next year this prize money would be suitably enhanced to further attract the owners of beat quality animals to participate in this championship.
Emphasising on the need of farm diversification, Mr. Badal said this could only be achieved by encouraging our farmers to adopt animal husbandry as allied profession though our farmers had been rearing animals since long and it is a matter of pride that Punjab was contributing 10% of the total milk production against the herd size of just 2% cattle. He lamented that now the Centre was also backtracking on the MSP of paddy and in the changed Scenario, the development of dairy sector had become all the more important especially to give much needed push to the agriculture diversification program.
The Chief Minister rued that the Congress led UPA government had blatantly ignored the interests of the Punjab farmers by denying them the remunerative MSP of their produce. He said the cost of agriculture inputs like diesel, seeds, pesticides, fertilizers etc. which were in the hand of the GoI, had been constantly surging and hence the margin of profit in the hands of farmers had been considerably reduced thereby putting the beleaguered state farming community in a tight spot. He said, “What to talk of rewarding the hard working Punjab farmer for his enormous contribution in making in our country self-reliant of food production at the cost of his precious natural resources that is soil fertility and ground water, the Centre had cold shouldered him by leaving them dejected and hapless”. Mr. Badal pointed out in such circumstances it was our bounden duty to bail out the state’s peasantry from the crisis which was already reeling under the whopping debt of Rs.32,000 crore, by giving free power to energize their tube wells despite severe criticism from all quarters, the entire subsidy on this count was being borne by the state government.
Strongly pleading the case of farm diversification in farm sector, the Chief Minister demanded that Rs. 5000 crore for diversification mission should be sanctioned for Punjab and other Green Revolution States during the 12th five year plan in line with already sanctioned Rs. 4000 crore to the eastern states to promote agriculture. He also demanded from Centre that the animal husbandry sector should be treated at par with agriculture for the exemption of income tax and interest on loans especially to boost the dairy farming.
Earlier, the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal interacted with the owners of the animals and said that this championship was started by SAD-BJP government six years ago. He also asked the animal husbandry to immediately initiate a program of breed registration of animal/cattle to further improve the breeding process to have better quality of livestock. He said keeping in view the tremendous response to this championship; the state government would further enhance the prize money to encourage more and more owners to bring their animals/cattle in this championship. He said it was the result of sheer efforts on the part of our state government that the Centre had accorded it a status of National Championship.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister along with Deputy Chief Minister disbursed cash prizes worth Rs. 1.25 crore along with certificates and trophies to owners of the winner cattle/animals in different
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Member Parliament from Ferozpur Sher Singh Ghubaya, Special Principal Secretary to CM KJS Cheema, Principal Secretary Animal Husbandry G Vajralingam and Director Animal Husbandry HS Sandha besides senior officers of civil and police administration of Muktsar district and senior leadership of SAD.