While farmer unions are demanding Rs 10,000 per acre as drought relief from the state and the Centre,Punjab’s industry has for the first time also sought aid from the government. Industrialists say the lack of power has caused them huge losses and hence have decided to seek a relief package from the state government.
We are paying Rs 5.85 per unit of power and are still facing 8-10 hours of cuts in mixed land use areas. Our industries are burning diesel worth thousands of rupees to run units even as labour is made to sit idle. Production in several units has fallen by more than 30 per cent. We are the ones who are in dire need of a package more than anyone else. Our team is working on the details and we will present a proposal to the state government soon, said the president of the United Cycles Parts and Manufacturers Association (UCPMA),Gurmeet Singh Kular.
Farmers,on the other hand,are also blaming the lack of power for their woes. Bharati Kisan Union (ugranha) group general secretary Saudagar Singh said: The Centre kept Punjab out of the drought relief package because the state was not able to make a strong plea. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been blaming the Centre but he himself has also not announced even Rs 10 as relief for farmers who are burning diesel to irrigate their crops.
He added that they were receiving power for only 4 hours and the maximum for 5 hours in a day and that too with no fixed schedule. For the rest of the time,they have to depend on generators to irrigate their crop.
He also alleged that 2 years back,when the Centre had released Rs 800 crore as paddy bonus,the state only distributed Rs 200 crore to farmers. We want the Centre to distribute the relief amount to us directly, he added.