Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria today took a dig at the Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s newfound love for farmers and his ignorance about the ground realities.“It is not surprising for someone like Sukhbir, otherwise fond of spending time and doing business in seven star hotels only, to come out during election days and shed crocodile tears for the farmers as during last ten years he never ever stepped out into any agricultural field”, Sarkaria said in a strong and scathing attack on the Akali Dal president.Reacting to Sukhbir’s allegations that the government had not awarded any compensation nor ordered any ‘girdawri’ of the muskmelon crop damaged due to the hailstorm, Sarkaria said, the girdawri was ordered on May 2 itself and the girdawri has been conducted in an area of 5254 acres where muskmelon crop has been damaged. He said, the compensation will be paid to the farmers immediately after the election code of conduct is over.
“Just because you prefer to remain blissfully ignorant does not mean our government is not working”, he told Sukhbir, while adding, the girdawri was going on and will be completed in a few days only. “But Sukhbir is either ignorant or is deliberately trying to mislead the farmers of Shahkot on the eve of by-election as, otherwise, he should know that no compensation can be announced or awarded till the process of election is complete in view of the code of conduct”, he said.The Revenue minister added that not only the muskmelon farmers, but the maize growing farmers whose crops were also damaged due to the hailstorm, will also be compensated. “Let me tell Sukhbir that not only muskmelon, but maize was also damaged and if you are really concerned about the plight of the farmers, you should have mentioned about them as well”, Sarkaria told Sukhbir.