In a bid to ensure timely payment of relief to the families of debt-ridden farmers who have committed suicide in the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today directed all the Deputy Commissioners to hold monthly meetings of district level committees to expediously dispose of such cases in order to grant compensation to next of kin of the deceased farmers. A decision to this effect was taken by the Chief Minister during a meeting with the delegation of various farmers organisations here at Punjab Bhawan, this morning. The Chief Minister said that the compensation to the families of farmers, who had committed suicides, was given by the state government after recommendation from the district level Committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioners. He said that till now the state government had released about Rs 99 crore for this purpose but if any case was still pending it would be cleared on priority basis. Mr. Badal also informed that the state government has also enhanced the amount of compensation given to the such families from Rs two lakh to Rupees three lakh.On the issue of wheat procurement, the Chief Minister said that initially there were some hiccups on account of damaged crop due to unseasonal rains. However, he said that now the matter has been streamlined and payments were being made to farmers within 48 hours.
Badal said that the state government has deputed senior IAS officers in the grain markets to ensure prompt and hassle free procurement and lifting of the grains.The Chief Minister further said that the Union government was bearing the value cut in Minimum Support Price of wheat adding that they were determined to ensure that the farmers do not have to bear this cut in any case. He said that the farmer was not responsible for the damage caused to their crop due to vagaries of weather and thus would not be allowed to bear value cut in quality of their produce in any case. Mr. Badal reiterated the state government’s firm commitment to take every possible step to safeguard their interests in future too.
The Chief Minister said that the state government was compensating the farmer for the damage to their crop due to unseasonal rains by giving them a relief of Rs 8000 per acre. Referring to the complaints regarding laxity on the part of the government machinery for undertaking special Girdawaris to assess the loss in some parts of the state, he also asked the Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) to depute special teams of the officers so that no farmer was deprived of the compensation. Mr. Badal also said that the Union government has enhanced the amount of compensation in case of death of Milch cattle due to natural disaster from existing Rs 10000 to Rs 25000 and damage to the house from existing Rs 75000 to Rs 96000.
The Chief Minister also announced to enhance the compensation given to the farmers on account of loss of crop due to fire broke out of short circuit from existing Rs 5000 to Rs 8000. On the occasion, the Managing Director Punjab State Power Corporation Limited informed that during the current season 328 acres of crop was damaged due to short circuit adding that the farmers would be duly compensated for it. In another major reprieve to the farmers, Mr. Badal also announced to defer the recovery of crop loans of the Co-operative banks from them till next crop season.The Chief Minister further said that he had asked the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP), Government of India (GoI) to recommend a comprehensive insurance policy for safeguarding the interests of farmers. Mr. Badal said that he had suggested the commission to introduce the new policy based on assessment of loss on every single field because the existing norms of considering the block as a unit were not in the interest of the farmer of the state. The Chief Minister said that he had asked the Commission to treat Punjab as a special case and not treat it at par with the other states.
Prominent amongst other present in the meeting included Cabinet Minister Jathedar Tota Singh, Additional Chief Secretary Mr. Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. SK Sandhu, Financial Commissioner Revenue Mr. Karan Avtar Singh, Secretary Food and Civil Supplies Mr. G Vajralingam and Secretary Revenue Mr. Sameer Kumar. The delegation of farmers union comprised President of Bharati Kisan Union Ekta Mr. Joginder Singh Ugraahan, General Secretary Mr. Sukhdev Singh, state President of Kisan Sangarsh Committee Mr. Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu and others.