Chandigarh: In a major relief to tillers in the border areas, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday directed Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of districts along International Border (IB) to disburse compensation to farmers having land across the fence within a week.
“Hundreds of farmers having land across the fence, around 21,000 acres, will benefit from this major initiative,” he said after starting the process of distributing the compensation here.
The state government is duty bound to extend a helping hand to the “brave” farmers of the border region who have faced hardships because of the fencing, Badal said, adding that “no stone would be left unturned” to help them.
He said aware of the peculiar situation of the farmers, he has repeatedly raised the matter with the Centre.
The SAD-BJP government in its 1997-2002 tenure had initiated the scheme with relief of Rs 2,500 per acre to the farmers and now increased it to Rs 10,000 per acre, he said.
“However, Congress governments, at the state and the Centre, never bothered about the interests of farmers. The regime led by (state Congress chief) Amarinder Singh had discontinued this compensation,” Badal alleged.
Terming Amarinder’s debt waiver campaign a “big fraud”, he said, “His tenure is best remembered for his anti-farmer stance and now he is indulging in all sorts of tantrums to win their support by spreading canards.” Describing the resignations of Amarinder and Congress MLAs over the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal issue a “political stunt”, Badal stated it was a “grave conspiracy conceived by Congress” to divest the state of its legitimate share in river waters.
He held former prime minister late Indira Gandhi squarely responsible for Punjab’s crisis and “forcing” the erstwhile state chief minister Darbara Singh to sign an agreement after which he had to withdraw a case filed by him at Supreme Court to protect Punjab’s river waters.
He claimed that Amarinder had invited Gandhi to start the digging of the canal by offering her a silver. Asserting the canal will never become a reality, he asked the people to make every sacrifice to protect the state’s river waters.
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