Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today approved to compensate the farmers of Una and adjoining districts on account of the loss caused in wheat production by high incidence of yellow rust on different varieties of PBW-343 and PBW-502.
Cabinet presided over by state Chief Minsiter Prem Kumar Dhumal took this decision, as yellow rust has destroyed over 60 per cent of wheat crop in the central region this season. Farmers were demanding compensation for the crop loss, as the wheat seeds of substandard quality were supplied by the agricultural department. State unit of CPIM has been sought to probe into the wheat seed scam. However, state cabinet has not put any light over this matter. The farmers blamed the department for the destruction of the wheat crop this year, saying that they were supplied three substandard hybrid seed varieties procured from Punjab and Haryana. The worst affected are the farmers in the fertile Balh valley, Sundernagar, Dharampur and Gopalpur blocks and parts of the Joginderngar in the district.
The farmers said they had sown three hybrid wheat seed varieties- PBW-502, PBW-343, PBW-373 in the lower region this year. They had bought these from the agricultural department. In fact, the department had procured about 14,000 quintal of hybrid seeds from the Haryana Seed Corporation and NAFED and sold it to the farmers. The farmers had sown over 21,000 quintal of seeds in the 66,373 hectares area. The rest of the seeds were of traditional varieties, which have not been affected by the fungal disease, the farmers said. On the other hand, backing the farmers, CPIM General Secretary Bhupender Singh demanded a probe into the wheat seed scam said, “The farmers have the right to sow seeds of their choice, but the department has procured substandard seeds which is a big scam.”