Amid reports of simmering anger in the farming community, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Monday said his government has decided to allow sowing of paddy a week ahead of the earlier announced date of June 20. “The farmers will be allowed to sow paddy from June 13,” Amarinder announced at Khatkar Kalan addressing a rally in support of Manish Tewrai, the Congress candidate from Sri Anandpur Sahib.
To check the fall in the water table, Punjab, in 2009, had become the first state to enact a law banning the sowing of rice before a stipulated date. The Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act stipulates that “no farmer shall sow nursery of paddy before 10th day of May of the agricultural year or such other date as may be notified by the state government”.
The move by the Congress government, analysts say, may come as some consolation for farmers who may not be able to sell their bumper wheat produce in time owing to short supply of gunny bags. Amarinder Singh lashed out at the Modi government for allegedly diverting four lakh gunny bags (16,000 bales) to Haryana. “They should be ashamed of themselves for penalizing the poor farmers for their political ends,” he said.
He announced that the Punjab State Power Corp Ltd will pay compensation to those farmers whose crop had been damaged by fire due to electrical spark from the main lines during the recent unseasonal rains. Pointing out that a special ‘girdawari’ (inspection) was already underway, the CM said, “We will compensate each and every farmer,” he said.
Amarinder also made it clear that his government would not allow any value cut on minimum support prices by the central government. Slamming the Akalis over the spate of cases of desecration of holy texts in the state during their rule, he vowed that he would not spare anyone found guilty. “They will have to pay for their misdeeds,” he warned.
‘Modi trying to take personal credit for Balakot strike’
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to take personal credit for the action of the armed forces, Amarinder said: “surgical strike” was just a new jargon for cross-border raids. “Modi is trying to take personal credit for the Balakot air strike… The prime minister had not done anything. Was he there in 1965, 1975 or Kargil,” asked the CM, pointing out that it was former prime minister Indira Gandhi broke Pakistan into two parts in 1971 and gave full credit to the Indian Army and Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw.
“Indira Gandhi had attributed the victory to the valour of the Army, which is what Modi should have done now,” he added.
He also slammed Modi for his remarks on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and CM said the PM has hit the depths of pettiness in his desperation to stay in power.
“Faced with imminent ouster, power-hungry Modi has lost all sense of decency reducing it to a shameless mockery of public norms,” Amarinder said. “No sane individual or political institution that looked at elections as a serious democratic process could condone such malicious and baseless propaganda”.