September 1, 2021 5:32:38 am
In a hard-hitting response to his Haryana counterpart’s tweets questioning him on farmer welfare measures, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Tuesday ripped into Manohar Lal Khattar’s claims, trashing them as a pathetic attempt by the BJP leader to cover up the sustained and persistently shameful treatment meted out to farmers by his government.
Terming Khattar’s claims and questions as nothing but a shoddy defence against the nation-wide criticism of the latest violent assault on peacefully protesting farmers by his government, Amarinder in a statement said the various statements made by the Haryana CM in the wake of the brutal lathicharge on his own state’s farmers had once again utterly and unequivocally exposed the BJP’s anti-farmer mindset.
“Instead of apologising for the unprovoked and unjustified attack on the farmers, Khattar had been brazenly defending the police action and even tried to vindicate the Karnal SDM’s shocking instructions to the cops, which the world had seen and condemned,” said the Chief Minister.
Rebutting the assertions of the Haryana CM that his government had done more for the farmers than the Punjab government, Amarinder asked Khattar: “If that is the case, then why are your own state’s farmers angry with you and your BJP?”
Accusing Khattar of resorting to blatant lies and exaggerated claims, Amarinder said that petty data crunching will not condone Haryana government’s excesses against the farmers.
Referring to SAD-BJP alliance that ruled Punjab before Congress came to power, Amarinder said: “Your party left us without money even to pay our employees, and yet, we have successfully waived off Rs 4624.38 crore in debt of 5,64,143 small and marginal farmers till date, with another Rs 590 crore sanctioned for loan waiver of 2.85 lakh landless farmers and labourers.”
Pointing out that Haryana does not give a single paisa to its farmers in power subsidy, the Chief Minister said in Punjab, power subsidy of Rs 7,200 crore of (about Rs 17,000 per hectare) is being provided every year for agriculture pump-sets of farmers. Amarinder said that his government had spent Rs 62,000 crore on wheat and paddy procurement in 2020-21, besides an additional Rs 1,100 crore in Kharif and Rs 900 crore in Rabi seasons.
“And what is this Rs 1,000 per acre for stubble management that you’re tom-tomming about? We give Rs 2,500 per acre, which amounted to Rs 19.93 crore in FY20, given that 31,231 farmers were benefitted. So how much did your government shell actually out for stubble management during this period?” Captain Amarinder asked Khattar.
On Khattar’s remarks that Punjab was forced to match Haryana’s sugarcane price, he pointed out that Punjab had not matched but exceeded Haryana’s MSP.
Referring to Khattar’s statement on incentive to horticulture farmers, Amarinder said his government had not only reduced the market fee for Kinnow crops to 0.5 per cent but had also set up 8 commodity specific Estates (5 for Citrus. 1 litchi, 1 pear, 1 guava) to incentivise the growers by providing quality inputs and services.
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