October 8, 2021 9:12:35 am
ON THE third day of the ‘pakka dharna’ by BKU Ugrahan outside the residence of Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal in his native village Badal, farmers broke all barricades and reached right in front of the house. They raised slogans against the state government as well as Manpreet Badal.
The gherao continued for more than an hour. Later, Gidderbaha SDM Om Parkash reached the spot and met the farmers.
The protesting farmers are demanding compensation for damage to cotton crop by pink bollworm.
The SDM told The Indian Express said: “I requested them to shift their dharna a few metres behind the house of the finance minister and they agreed to the same. I also told them that most of the Cabinet ministers had marched towards Lakhmipur Kheri Thursday morning, if they come back to Chandigarh, someone from the Cabinet may come here or they may depute someone to convene a meeting with the farmers. However, they need to wait for the same.”
Shingara Singh Mann, general secretary of BKU Ugrahan, said, “As no one from government was approaching us, on Thursday afternoon we broke all barricades and gheraoed Manpreet’s house. Later when SDM assured that talks with government will happen on Friday, we went back to the original dharna location, which is about 100 metres away from the house. However, if no meeting happens tomorrow, we will start indefinite gherao of the house of Punjab’s finance minister.”
Outside Manpreet Badal’s house, BKU Ugrahan members from Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Fazilka and Sangrur — the cotton belt of Punjab — are protesting.
Harinder Kaur Bindu, vice-president of BKU Ugrahan, and Paramjeet Kaur Pitho, another woman leader of BKU Ugrahan, spoke on the occasion. Farmers are demanding Rs 60,000 per acre for farmers and Rs 30,000 per acre for farm labourers.
Shingara Singh said: “Untimely rain this week has further damaged paddy crop as well in many areas like Lambi.it will affect yield and charges of harvesting will also increase.”
The day-night dharna is continuing outside the residence of Manpreet Singh Badal and “will be lifted only when compensation talks happen”, said Jasveer Singh Burjsema from BKU Ugrahan, Bathinda unit.
BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said they will continue to sit outside the residence of Badal till their demands are not met.
Pink bollworm pest has caused extensive damage to cotton crop in Malwa areas, especially Bathinda district.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Wednesday had issued directions for completion of the work of special ‘girdawari’ immediately to assess the actual damage to cotton crop by pink bollworm infestation.
Randhawa had directed the Financial Commissioner (Development) to ensure that the affected farmers be compensated before Diwali after completion of the special ‘girdawari’ so that the losses incurred by the farmers of Cotton belt could be compensated. After the attack of pink bollworm on the cotton crop in the Malwa belt, the affected areas were earlier visited by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Randhawa.
The current situation of the cotton farmers in Punjab is grave due to pink bollworm as most of the farmers have uprooted the crop and are demanding compensation from the government.
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