The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, September 13
Expressing concern over the crop damage in the state due to incessant rain and pink bollworm infestation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab MLA and Kisan Wing state president Kultar Singh Sandhwan has demanded the Punjab government to compensate the affected farmers by Rs 20,000 per acre and to revamp and simply the norms of the State Disaster Response Fund; so that more people can get its benefits.
In a statement issued from the party headquarters here on Monday, Kultar Singh Sandhwan expressed astonishment stating, “Despite the crop damage in several parts of state due to incessant rain, pink bollworm and pest infestation, the Punjab government is sleeping; because the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who heads the agriculture department; himself is in slumber.”
Slamming the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government for negligence, Sandhwan said the entire cotton crop of the Malwa belt had been destroyed with the outbreak of pink bollworm infestation, while hundreds of acres of maize and sugarcane crops have been destroyed due to pest infestation in Doaba and Puadh areas and paddy and other crops had been damaged by incessant rain in Majha region. He said it was due to the negligence of the state’s drainage department that the crops were damaged due to rain. “The government should immediately conduct crop inspection (girdawari) with release of compensation to the farmers,” he added.
He alleged while the Modi government was trying to destroy the farmers of Punjab through black laws, the agriculture department of the Punjab government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh himself had failed miserably in protecting the crops and farmers. Taking a dig at the Congress government, Kultar Singh Sandhwan said, “On the one hand, the farmers are struggling for their rights at the Delhi borders; while on the other hand, the government is harassing them. Instead of supporting the farmers, the Congress government is wasting time and is busy in its internal feud for the chair and in merry-making.”
Sandhwan said surprisingly, Punjab being an agriculture-oriented state; does not even have its own agriculture minister. The AAP leader further said that the farmers should get legal right to compensation in case of crop damage. He said the Punjab government should bring a law in the Assembly that in case of non-payment of damages within the stipulated time, action could be taken against the concerned authorities and the farmer could approach the court.
On State Disaster Response Fund, Kultar Singh Sandhwan said that its norms should be state specific with credibility for coverage of all kinds of loss of the farmers. “Due to the norms being complex and strict, the funds are not released in a proper amount to the needy; due to which it continues to increase in the government account,” he added.