Chandigarh, October 12, 2018: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked the Congress government to immediately disburse Rs3,000 per acre to incentivize farmers willing to bring in positive change by managing paddy straw even as it announced it would stand with farmers and not allow the government to register cases against them.
In a statement here, former minister and senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said it was shocking that instead of offering money to the ‘anndaata’ to manage paddy straw or engaging machines to deal with it free of cost, the Congress government had shifted this responsibility to farmers and was now intimidating them with threats of cases and jail terms.
Urging farmers to unite to counter these repressive tactics, Mr Majithia said the Akali rank and file would stand with them and protest any move to penalize farmers. He also urged party workers to rush to the spot to show solidarity with farmers on receiving any information of prosecution of farmers.
Blaming the Congress government squarely for failing to take steps to avoid burning of paddy stubble in the State, the Akali leader said the government had a full year to tackle the issue but aggravated it instead of trying to resolve it. “The government first delayed paddy transplantation by ten days through a dictatorial order which has reduced the cropping window for sowing of the wheat crop and gives very little time to farmers to manage paddy straw”. He said this was not all. “The government placed orders for 14,000 machines like happy seeder and super straw management systems but only around 500 machines have been received on subsidized rates”.
Asking the Congress government how it could victimize farmers when it had been given Rs 665 crore by the centre to generate awareness on stubble burning and boosting use of subsidized machinery which it did not put to good use, Mr Majithia said the only option left for the State was to compensate farmers for the cost incurred by them in managing paddy straw.
Stating that the Congress government only believed in hype and had zero performance to its credit, Mr Majithia said the government had announced formation of a $ one million paddy straw challenge fund one year back to come up with technology solutions to manage crop residue. “Nothing has come out of it. Similarly the government has failed to encourage bio-mass plants or make arrangements for paddy straw to be used as fuel in kilns and other such measures”.
Slamming the shameful attitude of the government which expected farmers to bear the cost of managing paddy straw, Mr Majithia said this could only be expected from a government which had had reneged on all promises made to farmers including complete Rs 90,000 crore loan waiver. “The Congress government has also shown its true colours by refusing to award compensation for crop damage since one year besides failing to release sugarcane dues of Rs 1,000 crore. On top of this it is now asking distressed farmers who are committing suicide to bear the cost for managing paddy stubble. We will not let it get away with it and force the government to compensate the farmers for the same”, he added.