Chandigarh, August 31
Responding to his Haryana counterpart’s tweets questioning him on farmer welfare measures, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ripped into ML Khattar’s claims, trashing them as a pathetic attempt by the BJP leader to cover up the sustained and persistently shameful treatment meted out to farmers by his government.
Terming Khattar’s claims and questions as nothing but a shoddy defence against the nation-wide criticism of the latest in the series of violent assaults on peacefully protesting farmers by his government, Amarinder said the various statements made by the Haryana chief minister in the wake of the brutal lathi-charge on his own state’s farmers had once again utterly and unequivocally exposed the BJP’s anti-farmer mindset.
Instead of apologising for the unprovoked and unjustified attack on the farmers, Khattar had been brazenly defending the police action and even tried to vindicate the Karnal SDM’s shocking instructions to the cops, which the world had seen and condemned, said the Chief Minister.
Rebutting the atrocious assertions of the Haryana CM that his government had done more for the farmers than the Punjab government, Amarinder asked Khattar “if that is the case, then why are your own state’s farmers angry with you and your Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?” Having failed to convince the people of India that it was Punjab and its farmers who were responsible for the prolonged agitation against the Farm Laws at the Delhi borders, Khattar was now resorting to blatant lies and exaggerated claims, Captain Amarinder said, adding that indulging in this petty data crunching will not condone Haryana government’s excesses against the farmers.
Pointing out that Haryana does not give a single paisa to its farmers in power subsidy, the Chief Minister said in Punjab, power subsidy of Rs 7,200 crore of (About Rs. 17000 per hac) is being provided every year for Agriculture pump-sets of farmers.
Not only was Punjab leading the country in terms of procurement of key crops like wheat, paddy and cotton at MSP, it was also providing additional assistance to farmers to ensure smooth procurement in the face of the faulty policies of the BJP-led central government and the Food Corporation of India, said Captain Amarinder, disclosing that his government had spent Rs 62,000 crore on wheat and paddy procurement in 2020-21, besides an additional Rs 1,100 crore in Kharif and Rs 900 crore in Rabi seasons.
Ridiculing Khattar’s assertion that his government was paying 12% in interest against delay in payment, Amarinder said in sharp contrast to Haryana, farmers in Punjab were getting their payment directly into their accounts within 72 hours, eliminating the need to pay interest.
Countering Khattar’s tall claims on Rs 5,000 per acre incentive to the farmer who adopts direct seeding of rice technology, Captain Amarinder said thanks to the 40% subsidy, Punjab today has 6.01 lakh hac under DSR technology as against Haryana’s measly 1.00 lakh hac.
Dubbing as ludicrous Khattar’s remarks that Punjab felt the need to match Haryana’s sugarcane MSP after farmers’ agitation, the Punjab Chief Minister asked his Haryana counterpart to check his facts before shooting from his mouth. Punjab, he pointed out, had not matched but exceeded Haryana’s MSP, and was now at the top of table amongst all States by fixing a SAP of sugarcane @ Rs. 360/quintal for the crushing season 2021-22. In fact, he added, the Punjab government had always been paying higher price to cane growers, over and above the FRP fixed by GoI, and would have hiked the MSP much earlier and even more had Khattar’s party not colluded with the Akalis for 10 years to ruin Punjab’s economy.