Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the callous and inhuman attitude of the Congress government towards farmers who had lost their entire crops to field fires was akin to pushing them into the jaws of death, even as he demanded all such farmers be given due compensation immediately.In a statement here, the SAD president said “more than 400 farmers have already committed suicide due to the Congress government’s refusal to implement the Rs 90,000 crore complete loan waiver as promised by the party and its then president Capt Amarinder Singh through signed affidavits. Recently hundreds of farmers, particularly those in Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts, witnessed their entire wheat crop being destroyed by field fires. It is nearly a fortnight since wind storms resulted in sparking of live fires and resultant fires but no attempt has been made to compensate farmers for this loss. Now this inhuman attitude is also leading to casualties with Mohinder Singh of Chanarthal village in Fatehgarh Sahib dying following deep depression after failing to get any relief for this fourteen acre wheat crop which was destroyed in a field fire”.Stating that Congress leaders were sprinkling salt on the wounds of affected farmers, Mr Badal said when thousands of acres of standing wheat crop was gutted in a fire which started in Patiala district and spread to Fatehgarh Sahib, affected farmers were promised prompt relief by PPCC president Sunil Jakhar as well as the local legislator.
He said farmers were yet to hear from the district administration on this issue and they were now losing hope because of the governments past record of reneging on each and every promise made to them.Criticizing the state government for turning a blind eye towards the pitiable condition of farmers devastated by field fires across the state, the SAD leader said lakhs of farmers were now also suffering in mandis because of the imposition of ‘goonda tax’ on them. He said akin to the goonda tax taken from contractors supplying sand and gravel to the Bathinda refinery, now Congress leaders were taking goonda tax of Rs 3 to Rs 4 per bag from farmers to transfer procured wheat to godowns. He said the Congress government had failed to arrange for adequate transportation and labour contracts with many going to their minions who did not have requisite trucks and manpower to execute them. “The farmers are being penalized for this mismanagement on the part of the government”, he said while appealing to farmers not to give goonda tax in mandis to Congress stooges.