November 18, 2021 6:13:30 am
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday announced to enhance the compensation amount from Rs 12,000 to Rs 17,000 per acre for farmers, who suffered losses due to pink bollworm attack on cotton crop. Of the total relief amount announced, Channi added that 10% would be given to farm labourers involved in picking of cotton.
Chairing a high-level meeting with the representatives of 32 farm unions of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) led by its president BKU Balbir Singh Rajewal here at Punjab Bhawan, Channi said that “the enhanced compensation amount would involve nearly Rs 200 crore in addition to the already approved Rs 416.18 crore on account of compensation at the rate of Rs 12,000 per acre.”
Channi said that the meeting ended on a positive note and of the 18 demands, most have been met.
This was Channi’s first meeting with the farmers and it comes ahead of protests planned to mark one year of the agitation against farm laws at Delhi border.
Acceding to another major demand of SKM, the CM also announced to cancel all the FIRs registered by the Punjab Police “against the farmers who had been protesting against the black farm laws within the state, after following the prescribed procedure with due diligence”.
He also assured the representatives of SKM that he would “personally take up the matter with Punjab Governor, who is also the Administrator of UT Chandigarh to withdraw the cases against the farmers who participated in the protest march towards Punjab Raj Bhawan against draconian farm laws”.
Channi added that “all the cases of stubble burning registered against the farmers would [be] sympathetically considered from the legal aspects to safeguard the interest of the farming community”. However, he also appealed to farmers to “refrain from stubble burning in future as it was hazardous both for environment as well as human health besides hampering the fertility of land to an enormous degree”.
Taking serious note of supplying paddy seed of spurious quality to farmers in Moga district which resulted in crop damage in 2000 acres, the CM directed the agriculture minister to take a stern action against “the fraudulent seed company and ordered due compensation to the affected farmers to make their loss good”. The Chief Minister also directed to “initiate exemplary action against all the erring officials of PUNSEED involved in supply of substandard wheat seed during the current Rabi season”.
Regarding “the meager compensation paid to the farmers in lieu of land acquired from them for Delhi-Katra-Amritsar expressway”, Channi said that he would “personally convene a meeting of all Divisional and Deputy Commissioners to rationalize the rates of compensation in this regard”.
He categorically said that “such farmers should not be allowed to suffer on this count” and directed the Financial Commissioner Revenue to “examine such cases on priority to award fair compensation as per the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013”.
To check the adulteration of milk and milk products, Channi sought “wholehearted cooperation and support from the farm organisations to stamp out this menace which was posing a major threat to the health of human beings”. He underscored “the need to launch a massive awareness campaign to sensitize the people on this count”. Without mincing any words, the Chief Minister said that “the state government would not tolerate any sort of laxity in this regard and directed the departments of Health, Dairy Development and Cooperation (Milkfed) to act sternly against these unscrupulous elements, which were playing havoc with the lives of people”.
The Chief Minister also said that “the state government is seriously contemplating to bring a comprehensive proposal in the next Cabinet for formulation of a policy to reserve around 75% of posts in government exclusively for Punjabi youth”.
On the issue of appointment of PAU Vice Chancellor, the Chief Minister said that “the selection process in this regard is already underway and the competent person would be appointed soon purely on the merit basis in a fair and transparent manner”.
Agreeing to another demand of SKM to fill vacancies in the agriculture department, the CM apprised that “141 posts of agriculture development officers have already been appointed and equal number of posts would be filled soon to provide efficient extension services to the farmers which would go a long way in supplementing their income”.
Referring to the demand raised by the representatives of SKM to waive the outstanding loans of all categories of farmers including small, marginal and landless farmers, Channi said that he would “have a separate meeting with them after detailed deliberations with finance department regarding state’s financial position”.
Channi said that “5.63 lakh farmers have already been benefitted from loan waiver scheme to the tune of Rs 4,610.84 crore”. He added, “Apart from these, a sum of Rs 520 crore is being provided to the landless farmers and farm workers across the state.”
He said, “the Revenue department in sync with concerned Deputy Commissioners is already in the process to finalize the remaining cases.”
Expressing satisfaction over “the smooth and hassle free procurement during paddy marketing season”, Channi said that “Rs. 33750 crore has been paid out of Rs. 35965 crore to the farmers, which accounts 98 percent of the total payment for procurement”.
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