Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday told Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann not to run away from compensating the farmers for the cost incurred in managing paddy stubble as promised him, even as he asked the AAP government to stop penalizing farmers by indulging in 'draconian' acts like making red entries in their revenue records.
In a statement issued here, the SAD chief said the Punjab government had moved a proposal to give cash incentives at the rate of Rs 2,500 per acre to the farmers to encourage them to not burn paddy straw.
Alleging that the Chief Minister was making announcements for publicity only, Badal said, "Earlier, Bhagwant Mann had urged the farmers to sow 'moong' and promised that it would be purchased by the government on minimum support price, but later it procured only 10 percent of the total crop."
He said now also the Chief Minister made grandiose announcements to give an incentive of Rs 2,500 per acre to the farmers to prevent stubble burning, but reneged on this promise when the time came to deliver.
Badal said it is shocking that the farmers have not only been left to their fate, but the Aam Aadmi Party government has even directed the district commissioners to make red entries in revenue records of farmers who burn paddy straw.
"The farmers are already facing a severe crisis due to the AAP government's failure to compensate them for repeated crop losses. Now the small farmers, who are the most affected, are being made ineligible to take loans on their lands or mortgage them," the SAD chief said.
Terming the Chief Minister's offer that farmers could take advantage of subsidized straw management machines as impractical, Badal said, "Such machines need heavy tractors to run them. It is not possible for small and marginal farmers to either purchase these machines or run them".
He also gave the example of how farmers who had purchased such machines last year had been left high and dry with the government refusing to release any grants to them to subsidize the cost of the machines.
Asking the Chief Minister to deliver on his promises, Badal said, "Either the farmers should be paid the incentive of Rs 2,500 per acre as promised by the CM, or the state should take the responsibility of managing the paddy straw. Expecting the farmers, who are already facing financial hardships, to spend more money on managing paddy stubble is not possible." (KB/IANS)