The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today ruled out any possibility of interlinking the rivers as it was practically not feasible because Punjab has not even a single drop of surplus water. Talking to the media persons on the sidelines of the 11th Death anniversary of Panth Rattan Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the Chief Minister said that Punjab had already constructed dams over its rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi and as on today there was hardly any river which was un-tapped. He said that our state was already water deficit and the inter linking of rivers in the state was a distant reality. Replying to another query regarding the support given by the SAD to the Land Acquisition Bill, the Chief Minister clarified that we have already impressed upon the Centre to implement the time tested ‘Punjab model’ of land acquisition which had been successfully implemented in the State for over past many years.
He categorically said that we have asked the GoI to make the clause of farmer’s consent prior to their land acquisition mandatory besides to give them solatium @ of 30% as compensation allowance for their displacement and rehabilitation of the farmers by allotting residential and commercial property through land pooling scheme as being done in Punjab. He referred to major chunks of land acquired by our government for mega projects like Mohali International Airport, Thermal Plants at Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo at the prevailing market price with the farmers' consents without any fuss.To another question for seeking adequate compensation from Centre for the crop loss due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm across the state, the Chief Minister said that the norms of GoI in this regard were too meager, too insufficient and too little to compensate the farmers since the Congress regime and now we have requested the NDA government to revise these norms suitably to make the loss suffered by the farmers good.
Badal said that they have already pleaded to introduce a Crop Insurance scheme so that the entire damage caused to their standing crops could be adequately compensated. He bemoaned that centre was merely paying Rs.3600 per acre as compensation to the farmers and state was giving Rs.1400 from its own resources to make it Rs.5000 per acre. Earlier paying tributes to Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the Chief Minister recalled the valuable services rendered by him in the social, political and religious fields. He said that Jathedar Tohra’s life was a lighthouse for all the countrymen especially the Punjabis to serve the country with utmost zeal and dedication. Mr. Badal also recalled the relentless struggle made by Jathedar Tohra to safeguard the interests of the state in general and Sikh Panth in particular even in the turbulent times. He called upon the rank and file of Shiromani Akali Dal to follow the ideology of value based politics which was the hallmark of Jathedar Tohra’s personality.
Making a scathing attack on former Chief Minister Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala, the Chief Minister said that while the great leaders like Jathedar Tohra were fighting tooth and nail to oppose the tyranny of then Congress government at the centre, Barnala aptly used that opportunity for grabbing the power. He said that now by accepting the Congress ticket for their grandson from Dhuri assembly segment, the Barnala family has proved that they could go to any extent for attaining political power. Drawing a comparison between Jathedar Tohra and Mr. Barnala, Mr. Badal said that while valiant leaders like Jathedar Tohra sacrificed their everything for the cause of state and Sikh Panth on other hand traitors like Mr. Barnala caused irreparable damage to the panth for their vested interests.
Prominent amongst others who paid tributes to Panth Ratan Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra included Rajya Sabha MP Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Speaker Punjab Assembly Dr. Charanjit Singh Atwal, Cabinet Minister Mr. Surjit Singh Rakhra, Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Chairman District Planning Committee Mr. Deeepinder Singh Dhillon, former Minister Jathedar Hira Singh Gabria and Mr. Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, General Secretary of SGPC Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Secretary of SGPC Jathedar Dilmegh Singh and Chairman Market Committee Patiala Mr. Harinder Pal Singh Tohra. Former Punjab Minister Mr. Harmel Singh Tohra welcomed all the dignitaries. Deputy Commissioner Mr. Varun Roojam and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mr. GS Chauhan were also present on the occasion.