The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, November 18
Former minister and senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia today demanded the immediate revocation of red entries made in land records of thousands of farmers, saying the farmers had burnt paddy stubble only after the chief minister Bhagwant Mann failed to compensate them for the cost incurred in managing the stubble.
Asserting that the SAD stood with the beleaguered peasantry,Bikram Majithia announced the party would oppose the collection of penalties imposed on farmers besides launching a sustained campaign in case the red entries in land records were not revoked.
“The AAP government has created another list akin to the black list of the central government which will cause untold hardship to farmers who will become ineligible for loans and will not be able to mortgage their land. This is discriminatory and a plot to deny them access to various other government benefits also which is intolerable”, Majithia added.
Holding the chief minister responsible for the current state of affairs, the Akali leader said “farmers burnt their paddy stubble only after Bhagwant Mann went back on his word to give them a cash incentive of Rs 2,500 per acre to offset them for the loss incurred in managing it”.
He said after making grandiose announcements and milking cheap publicity, the AAP government did not pay a single rupee to farmers to manage their paddy stubble.
“Instead coercive steps, including police action, were taken to force farmers to manage their stubble at their own cost. Those unable to do so due to financial constraints have been penalized and red entries have been made in their land records”.
Asserting that the AAP government should have taken on the responsibility of managing the paddy straw, Majithia said instead of doing this farmers had been encouraged to purchase heavy machinery for which even the promised grants had not been released.
“Moreover small and marginal farmers cannot purchase these machines which are usable for only a fortnight annually”.
He said the action was being taken against these farmers despite a clear assurance by the AAP government that no punitive action would be taken against farmers who burnt stubble due to lack of machines or resources.
Majithia said like in the case of law and order and general administration, the AAP government had created a crisis in the agricultural sector by repeatedly failing to come to the aid of farmers and addressing their grievances.
“Tall promises are made by the chief minister repeatedly, even in writing, but never kept”, the Akali leader said while referring to loss suffered by farmers when their Moong produce was not procured at MSP.
He said the AAP government also failed to ensure adequate compensation for land acquisition, pest attack on cotton, natural calamities and milch animals lost to lumpy skin disease besides not giving jobs to farm suicide victims.