The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, November 18
Urging the agitating unions to exercise their democratic right of protest without creating any inconvenience to the general public, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann today said that harassment of common man on hollow pretext of rights must be avoided.
Taking a strong exception over stopping of roads by such unions to harass the general public, the Chief Minister, while interacting with the media here at his office in Punjab Civil Secretariat, said that though protest was democratic right of any citizen of the country but these unions must be sensitive towards the agonies being confronted the common people due to this. He said that it is unfortunate that some organisations have made it their ‘hobby’ to stop the roads and create inconvenience to the general public. Bhagwant Mann said that this callous and irresponsible attitude towards society is unwarranted and undesirable.
The Chief Minister said that his doors are always open for discussion with every section of society in consonance of which he held detailed meetings with farmers too and accepted their major demands. However, he said that despite this some organisations are harassing the people in the name of getting their rights, which is not justifiable. Listing the pro-farmers initiatives of his government, Bhagwant Mann said that for the first time in the history of the state his government has cleared all the pending arrears of sugarcane farmers.
The Chief Minister said that his government is giving Rs 380 as State Agreed Price (SAP) for the sugarcane crop. He asserted that it is the highest price being given by any state government in the country. Bhagwant Mann said that sugar mills have been directed to start crushing from November 20 and ensure timely payment to the farmers.
The Chief Minister said that for the first time in the state farmers have got uninterrupted power supply during the paddy season. He said that the state government has not received a single complaint regarding power failure in the state. Likewise, Bhagwant Mann said that it is on record that farmers have not faced any sort of inconvenience to sell their paddy crop in grain markets due to elaborate arrangements made by the state government adding that the entire process of procurement and lifting of crop and payment to farmers has been completed without any delay.
The Chief Minister said that his government had requested the farmers to adopt Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR), which had got an overwhelming response from them. He said that 29335 farmers who have opted for Direct Seeding have been given Rs 24.35 crore ( Rs 1500 per acre) as financial assistance by the state. Bhagwant Mann said that this initiative is aimed at checking depleting groundwater in the state.
The Chief Minister further said that the state government is encouraging crop diversification in a big way. He said that for the first time the state government has offered MSP on the Moong crop. Bhagwant Mann said that this year farmers had cultivated over 1.25 acre of land as compared to 50,000 acre last year.
The Chief Minister said that the state government has ensured financial assistance worth Rs 5 lakh each to families of 624 farmers who had attained martyrdom during the farm agitation. He said that next of kin of 326 farmers have been given government jobs adding that process was on for ensuring that the families of remaining martyrs are covered too. Bhagwant Mann further said that the state government is fully sensitised towards agony caused to farmers owing to natural disasters due to which it has released compensation worth Rs 80 crore to farmers, as relief, in the last seven months.