In a path breaking initiative aimed at safeguarding the interests of farmers, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Bhagwant Mann today announced that in future farmers incurring any loss from a natural disaster would be duly compensated prior to completion of assessment (Girdawari).Addressing a gathering during function organised to distribute compensation farmers who have lost their crop due to Pink worm attack, the Chief Minister said that it is unfortunate that food growers get the compensation after a long and troublesome process of assessment of crop loss. He said that this will be reversed and now farmers will get compensation prior to assessment as already being done in Delhi. Mr Bhagwant Mann said that this will be instrumental in saving the undue harassment of farmers for getting compensation after a cumbersome process.
The Chief Minister said that in Malwa belt farmers had lost their cotton crop not because of attack by white and pink worm, but it was the supply of poor quality seeds and pesticides that was chiefly responsible for this huge loss. He announced that a thorough enquiry will be conducted in this regard and strict action will be taken against those who had supplied these spurious seeds and pesticides to farmers. Mr Bhagwant Mann categorically said that the real culprits for loss of farmers was not attack of white or pink worm but it the was the then government which supplied poor seeds and pesticides to farmers.The Chief Minister said that if the then government had performed its duty well and ensured supply of good seeds and pesticides then the farmers would not have faced such hardships. He said that meagre compensation after such a whopping loss rubs salt into the wounds of the farmers. Mr Bhagwant Mann said that the successive governments have turned the food growers of the country into beggars, who have to face a lot of exploitation for getting the compensation of their losses.
Promising to make agriculture a profitable venture, the Chief Minister said that the state government is holding parleys with the experts of various universities so as to introduce new technology for motivating the farmers to cultivate high profit yielding varieties of crops. He said that agriculture is the backbone of Punjab’s economy and the state government will leave no stone unturned to make it a profit making occupation. Mr Bhagwant Mann said that budgetary provision will be made to provide funds to Agriculture University for new research and high quality seeds of various crops.Highlighting the importance of water, the Chief Minister said that it is the only available natural resource of the state. He bemoaned that for producing one kilogram of rice 3800 litres water of state is wasted. Mr Bhagwant Mann urged the farmers to revert back to harvest less water guzzling crops as the fertile land of Punjab can produce any crop.
Talking about the historic decision regarding pensions of MLAs, the Chief Minister said that this decision has been welcomed by the entire country. He said that the state exchequer is meant for the general public and will be spent only for their well being. Mr Bhagwant Mann said that in Delhi a MLA gets Rs 54000 as salary including all allowances whereas a former MLA gets pension worth Rs 7200.Earlier welcoming the Chief Minister, Health Minister Dr Vijay Singla hailed him for taking several path breaking initiatives ever since assuming office. He envisioned that these decision will take Punjab to zenith of its glory.Pertinently, last year due to pink worm attack farmers have suffered huge loss in cotton belt of state but they had not got compensation. In Mansa district alone 1.36 lakh acre crop of 56372 farmers was destroyed due to attack and now these farmers have been compensated worth Rs 231 crore at Rs 17000 per acre.On the occasion MLAs Principal Budh Ram, Mr Sukhbir Singh Maiserkhana and Mr Gurpreet Singh Banawali, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr KK Yadav, Deputy Commissioner Mr Mohinder Pal, Senior Superintendent of Police Mr Deepak Parekh and others were also present.