ABOHAR: The Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday started the process to disburse compensation to the farmers with the state government distributing Rs 40 crore on its maiden day.
Addressing the gathering after kicking off the campaign to disburse the compensation for crop loss and damage to houses due incessant rains, the Chief Minister said that he had himself distributed Rs 6 crore out of the total Rs 12.94 crore as compensation for 362 villages of Fazilka. Bhagwant Mann said that this is not a day of happiness because he is here to compensate the farmers for the loss inflicted due to nature’s fury. However, he said this reflects the firm commitment of his government to bail out the people especially the food growers in this hour of crisis.
The Chief Minister said that after the incessant rains he had extensively toured the affected areas to take stock of the situation at the ground level. Bhagwant Mann said that he was peeved to note the colossal loss suffered by the farmers due to the inclement weather condition. He said that immediately after that the state government has ordered a comprehensive special Girdawari to ascertain the loss suffered by the people.
He said that this special Girdawari was a paradigm shift as compared to the previous government as earlier only lip service was made and no compensation was given to the people. He said that during those regimes Girdawaris were done only on the basis of political affiliation and no genuine beneficiary was helped. Bhagwant Mann said that instead of fields such Girdawaris were done only in the houses of the affluent people.
However, the Chief Minister said that this time a complete transparent mechanism has been adopted for conducting the Girdawari in an efficient manner. Bhagwant Mann said that he had promised that before Baisakhi the process to start compensation would start adding that it is a matter of great pride and satisfaction that this campaign has started today. He said that the sole aim is to benefit the food growers of the country who have played a vanguard role in making the country self-reliant in food production.
The Chief Minister said that his government has made 25% upward revision in the compensation for the crop loss to the farmers adding that in case the loss is more than 75% then the state government is compensating the farmers with Rs 15,000 per acre. Likewise, he said that if the loss is between 33% to 75% then the farmers are getting compensation worth Rs 6800 per acre. Similarly, Bhagwant Mann said that the farm labourers are also being duly compensated for the loss so that they do not face any problem in life adding that compensation to full house damage minor damage to houses is also being given.
CM said that for the first time in the history of the state the drive to disburse compensation has been started within 20 days of loss as none of the earlier governments had ever bothered about it. He quipped that during the previous regimes the compensation was so much delayed that most of the Ministers and MLAs used to forget which cheques of compensation they were disbursing. Bhagwant Mann said that however in the present government the ‘crops are still standing in fields but the compensation is in the bank accounts’.
He said that the state government is fully with the beleaguered peasantry in this hour of deep crisis. He further said that in a major pro-farmer initiative, the state government has decided to freeze repayment of loans taken by the farmers from Primary Agricultural cooperative Societies. Bhagwant Mann said that the government will fully compensate the hapless farmers of the state for the losses suffered by them.
He said that instead of requesting the centre for compensating the farmers for crop loss due to rains, the state government will bear the entire expense of the burden being faced by the farmers due to the cut being imposed by Government of India (GOI) on damaged wheat grain. He said that the farmers have suffered huge loss due to incessant rains but the indifferent centre government has not done anything to bail them out. Rather, Bhagwant said that to rub salt into wounds of farmers the centre has imposed a cut on the damaged grains.
Mann categorically said that filling the national Food pool is not possible without Punjabi farmers adding that Food Corporation of India (FCI) cannot survive without the hard working and resilient food growers of the state. He vowed that every single penny of cut imposed on farmers will be extracted from the centre with interest when the centre will seek supply of grains in terms of wheat and paddy for the national food pool. Bhagwant Mann said that the centre is completely indifferent towards Punjab and its farmers which cannot be tolerated at any cost.
Slamming SAD Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal for issuing baseless statements against the state government, the Chief Minister said that every decision of the state government is aimed at the well being of the common man. Training his guns against the former Deputy Chief Minister, he said that the person who himself wakes up at 12 noon can never imagine the benefits of changing the time of offices from 7:30 am to 2pm. Bhagwant Mann said that these leaders have been rejected by the people due to their such anti-people mindset.
He said that his government has taken unprecedented initiatives to strengthen the POWERCOM. Bhagwant Mann said that for the first time in the history of the state the government has released the entire pending subsidy worth Rs 20,200 crore of the last year. He said that the objective is to ensure that the PSPCL serves the people in the right spirit.
He said that the Punjab Government has so far given more than 28,000 jobs to youth across the state adding that the sole criteria for selection in this entire recruitment process is merit and the entire procedure is being followed in a transparent manner. He said that now these youth have become integral part of the socio-economic growth of the state. Bhagwant Mann said that such a whopping number of jobs in merely one year reflect the commitment of the state government to ensure the well being of youth and opening new avenues of employment for them.
The Chief Minister also announced that the state government will open 10 hi-tech centres for imparting training to the students for competitive exams. Bhagwant Mann said that these centres will provide quality training to youth for clearing the UPSC exams and sit on coveted positions in state and country. He said that the target of the state government is to ensure that youth sit in high offices and not in the prisons by indulging in some illegal activity.