India Region

Punjab: Sukhbir Badal condemns the AAP govt for leaving hailstorm-affected wheat farmers in the lurch

Report by Jag Mohan Thaken  

05 March 2024, Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday condemned the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for leaving farmers whose wheat crops have been flattened by the hailstorm in these districts two days back to their fate and demanded they be compensated immediately at the rate of Rs 25,000 per acre. 

The SAD president, who visited several villages including Chak Attar Singh Wala, Nandgarh, Bajak, Sardargarh, Karamgarh Shatra, Virk Khurd, Burj Mehma, Mehma Bhagwana, Mehma Sarkari and Mehma Savai villages in this district, said villagers told him that no AAP legislator or even the agriculture minister, who was from the area, had visited them till now. He demanded that chief minister Bhagwant Mann order a girdawari to assess the damage, and pending the same, give an interim relief of Rs 25,000 per acre to the affected farmers. 

Mr Sukhbir Badal said it was shocking that the chief minister, who had promised to give compensation in advance in case of crop damage, had failed to release compensation to farmers for the massive losses suffered by them during floods last year. He said the chief minister had also betrayed farmers by promising them MSP for all crops but failed to procure either their pulses or maize crops on MSP. 

Asserting that the SAD would not let the AAP government get away with this anti-farmer policy, Mr Sukhbir Badal said “In case compensation is not awarded to the farmers who have lost their standing wheat crop due to hailstorm we will launch an agitation to ensure justice with them”. He also demanded that farmers whose potato and vegetable crops had been destroyed by the hailstorm also be awarded adequate compensation. 

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today also demanded the registration of a criminal case against Haryana home minister Anil Vij, the State Director General of Police (DGP), and all other police officers responsible for the murder of Shubhkaran Singh as well as firing on peacefully agitating farmers during the ongoing farmer agitation in the State in the Vidhan Sabha today. 

Making this demand, SAD legislator Manpreet Singh Ayali said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government should support the farmers and their demands and ensure their voice is heard instead of being suppressed with tear gas and bullets. 

Terming the demands of the farmers as very genuine, Mr Ayali said the farmers deserved a complete loan waiver given the high cost of inputs and low minimum support price (MSP) given to them for food grains. He said similarly the Swaminathan formula of fixing MSP to ensure a fifty percent profit to farmers over and above the weighted cost of production should also be implemented. He also urged the center to give legal sanctity to the MSP system as per the assurance given to farmers when they lifted their Andolan more than two years ago. 

The SAD leader also appealed to the chief minister to order an immediate girdawari to assess the loss caused to standing wheat and potato crops due to hailstorms across several villages in the Bathinda district. He said standing crops had been extensively damaged in Chak Attar Singh Wala, Nangarh, Sardargarh, Karamgarh Shattra, Bajak, Virk Khurd, Burj Mehma, Mehma Bhagwana, Mehma Sarkari and Mehma Savai. “The affected farmers should be provided adequate compensation at the earliest”, he added.  

Also Read: Indian Cotton Prices and Outlook for March 2024: A Mixed Bag for Cotton Producers

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