To provide relief to the farmers and laborers of the cotton belt, the Punjab Government has announced to release the grant of over Rs. 416 crore for to compensate the damage of crops due to pink ballworm attack.The announcement has been made by the Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary and Agriculture Minister Mr. Randeep Singh Nabha in a joint press conference here at Punjab Bhawan today. Both the Cabinet Ministers said that the pink ballworm had caused severe damage to cotton crops in Mansa, Sangrur, Bathinda, Sri Muktsar Sahib and Barnala districts and to compensate these farmers their government is releasing an amount of Rs. 4,16,18,07,828 (four One Hundred and Sixteen Crore, Eighteen Lakh, Seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty Eight Rupees). They said that 10 per cent of the amount would be provided to the cotton picking workers as relief and the compensation amount will be sent in the accounts of Deputy Commissioners before Diwali and the district administration will directly transfer the aid in the bank accounts of farmers. Mrs. Chaudhary and Mr. Nabha said that the Punjab Government, under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, standing firmly by the farmers and every step would be taken for the welfare of the farmers. They said that the Punjab government was committed for the welfare of all sections including workers and farmers.
Giving details of the distribution of compensation, the Cabinet Ministers said that this time around 7 lakh 51 thousand acres of cotton was sown in the cotton belt and out of this around four lakh acres had been damaged by the pink ballworm. He said that compensation was being paid at the rate of Rs. 2,000 per acre for 26 to 32 percent loss, Rs. 5400 per acre for 33 to 75 percent loss and Rs.12,000 per acre for 76 to 100 percent loss which is highest ever amount. Earlier, farmers were being paid Rs 8,000 per acre and pickers 5 per cent of the amount for crop failure.According to the Cabinet Ministers, 151335 acre crop in Mansa district has been damaged from 76 to 100 percent an amount of Rs.181,60,21,050 is being released for this district. Similarly, in Sangrur 145 acres suffered loss from 26 to 32 per cent, 3693 acres 33 to 75 per cent and 180 acres 76 to 100 per cent loss and provision of Rs. 224,01,328 has been made for this. He said that in Bathinda district, 683 acres have suffered loss from 26 to 32 percent, 85 acres 33 to 75 percent and 188308 acres 76 to 100 percent loss for which compensation of Rs. 226,15,23,700 is being paid for Bathinda. In Sri Muktsar Sahib district, 1906 acres crop have been damaged by 26 to 32 per cent, 7922 acres by 33 to 75 per cent and 50 acres by 76 to 100 per cent for which an amount of Rs. 4,71,90,800 is being released. Similarly, in Barnala district, 143 acres of cotton was damaged by 26 to 32 per cent, 2639 acres by 33 to 75 per cent and 11 acres by 76 to 100 per cent and relief of Rs. 1,46,70,950 has been provided to Barnala farmers.
The ministers also said that out of this amount, 10 per cent relief would be provided to cotton picking workers.Replying to a query regarding the damage caused to crops by the recent rains and hailstorms, Mrs. Chaudhary said that girdavari orders have been issued in this regard and as soon as the reports will be received from the Deputy Commissioners, steps will be taken for compensation. The Deputy Commissioners had been directed to send crop damage reports within a week.Meanwhile, in reply to a question, Mr. Nabha said that state-of-the-art technology was being introduced by the government to prevent such losses. Expressing his commitment to the farmers, he said that appointment letters have been issued to 157 members of the families of the farmers who lost lives during agitation against the agricultural laws which was a commitment of the Congress government for the welfare of the farmers.Both the ministers said that on November 8, a special session has been invited for debate on the Agriculture laws and unjustified extension in the jurisdiction of the BSF.On this occasion, among others Financial Commissioner Revenue Mr. V.K. Janjua, Financial Commissioner Agriculture Mr. D.K. Tiwari and Additional Secretary Revenue Capt. Karnail Singh were also present.