Chandigarh: Taking strong exception on the misleading propaganda of the Congress party over the whitefly attack on the cotton crop, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Congress leaders to refrain from shedding crocodile tears over this sensitive issue.
In a statement issued here today, the Chief Minister, while expressing solidarity over the loss of crops, said that the state government would duly compensate the cotton cultivators for this whopping loss for which special ‘Girdawari’ was being conducted since September 7 and the entire exercise would be completed by September 18. He said that the SAD-BJP alliance government was solidly behind the farmers in this hour of crisis and every step would be taken to bail them out from it. Mr. Badal categorically said that it was on record that the SAD-BJP alliance government has always helped the farmers whenever they have faced any problem.
Slamming the Congress party for blowing the matter out of proportion just for sake of vested political interests, the Chief Minister said that in dearth of any tangible issue against the state government the Congress leaders were now indulging in such cheap tactics to get political mileage. However, he said that the farmers of the state would not get swayed away by these tantrums of the Congress party as they were well aware of the dubious and anti-farmer character of this party. Squarely holding the Congress party responsible for the plight of the farmers, Mr. Badal said that the farmers of the state were reeling under a whopping debt of Rs. 32,000 crore just because of the regressive policies of the successive Congress led Union governments at the centre.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister unequivocally said that SAD had always remained votary of the farmers and worked hard to safeguard the interests of the food growers of the country. He said that due to the persistent efforts of the state government the NDA government has recently revised the relief norms to the distressed farmers for the crop damage due to natural calamities across the country adding that now the farmers would be eligible for input subsidy if 33% of their crop has been damaged instead of earlier norms of 50% or more.
Acknowledging the land acquisition model of Punjab as the best for its transparency besides ensuring level playing field to all stakeholders, Mr. Badal said that it was a matter of great satisfaction and pride for the state that after stiff opposition from different political parties, the Government of India has now agreed to implement the Punjab model purely on its merit. Mr. Badal said that he had always personally lend a helping hand to the peasantry whenever it had faced any challenge or hardship due to some natural calamity or other problems like water logging, hailstorm or extreme weather conditions like drought besides ensuring the procurement and lifting of their golden harvest in a smooth and hassle free manner. On the contrary, the Congress leaders, who enjoyed their tenure in the offices without caring for the sad plight of the farmers not only spoke volumes of their complete insensitivity towards their woes but also nullified their tall claims made by them as their sympathizers to emotionally blackmail them.
Reiterating his firm commitment to resolve the impending sugarcane crisis on top priority, the Chief Minister said that a positive beginning has already been made with the clearance of outstanding arrears to the tune of Rs.540 crore due towards cooperative sugar mills by the state government thereby fulfilling its promise made to the cane growers. He said the remaining issues in this regard would also be amicably resolved shortly.
The Chief Minister further said that state government would take every possible step to secure the interests of the hard working and resilient farmers of the state. “Congress leaders are trying to mislead the people by resorting to dirty politics but Punjabi farmers will never pay heed to it as they are well aware of the fact that their interests were safeguarded to the best only and only by Shiromani Akali Dal”, Mr. Badal added.