Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Wednesday said the Union government should not victimise farmers for agitating against the Central agricultural laws by refusing to pay the rural development fund (RDF) component of Rs 1,100 crore on government paddy purchase.
In a statement here, the SAD chief, while condemning the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution for not making any provision for RDF in the cash credit limit extended for the current paddy procurement season, said this would adversely affect the food grain procurement system in Punjab.
He said the money received by the state from the RDF, which was around Rs 1,850 crore per annum, was used to maintain 1,800 mandis and 70,000 km of rural link roads.
Asking the Centre to make provision of the RDF-fee component in the FCI provisional cost sheet, Badal said Punjab was already reeling under an economic blockade due to stoppage of inbound goods trains to the state.
"Now it must not be subject to an attack on infrastructure built to facilitate farmers and rural areas. The Central government must take into account that the farmers who are agitating against its policies presently are the same who fed the nation for 50 years.
"The Centre should not use coercive measures against them and should win them over with love," he added.