SAD helpline has salutary effect, govt repression of farmers’ stops

Punjab Update

 Chandigarh, June 15 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the party helpline to stop forceful destruction of standing paddy on dictatorial dictates by the Congress government had already started delivering results with farmers consolidating at hundreds of places to thwart re-plowing of their transplanted paddy fields by government officials.

Disclosing this here today, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said the helpline with number 9815399333 had received more than 500 calls since its initiation yesterday evening with a major share of calls being received from the Malwa region of the State. He said immediately after receipt of calls wherever prompt action was needed the SAD district leadership was sounded off and they visited the areas and assured farmers they would stand by them and not let their fields be re-plowed. “This action has had a salutary effect. The inhuman destruction of farmer fields just because the farmer was sowing paddy as per old guidelines because he had tied up with labour and wanted to ensure his produce did not have high moisture content has stopped. However the Akali cadres will remain vigilant and wherever we find any attempt is being made to destroy transplanted paddy we will oppose it tooth and nail and not allow this at any cost”.

Mr Majithia said some other very disturbing facts had emerged after the initiation of the helpline in the party headquarters here. He said it had come to light that the government machinery was not taking action against farmers who were known Congress supporters and leaders even if they had sowed vast tracts of paddy before the June 20 deadline fixed by the government. “One prominent case which has been reported is of Congress man Kewal Khatkar of Musapur in Nawansheher who has transplanted 20 acres of paddy”. Mr Majithia however made it clear that the SAD would come to the aid of every distressed farmer be it a Congressman or AAP, BSP or Leftist. “For us the farmer is our anndaata. We cannot politicize this issue like the Congress. I also appeal to all political parties, farmer unions and people at large to rise up above all political considerations and treat this issue as a genuine problem related with our peasantry and jointly stop any efforts to penalize farmers through heartless methods like re-plowing transplanted fields on which they had spent thousands of rupees per acre after working in sweltering 42 to 45 degrees centigrade heat”.

Mr Majithia said another cruel Congress tactic to stop farmers from safeguarding their self interest by sowing paddy in time which had come to light was the closure of various canals in the Malwa region. He said Muktsar and Faridkot districts were particularly affected due to this ‘Auranzebi farmaan’ with farmers using diesel generator sets to water their paddy nursery. He said it was for the first time in the history of the State that canals had been closed during the paddy transplantation season on flimsy grounds.

The Akali leader said all these barbaric steps were being taken by the Congress government to hide its own failures. “It seems the government failed to tie up adequate power for paddy transplantation besides deciding not to allow access to subsidized power to the State farmer. The government is hoping that the monsoon will arrive towards the last week of this month and it won’t have to offer subsidized power to the State farmer. But in this process the Congress government had put the burden for higher labour cost, less yield, loss of opportunity to sow a third crop and moisture laden paddy on the farmers. This step will also cause harm to the environment as farmers will not have time to dispose off their paddy stubble due to late ripening leading to further pollution due to stubble burning”.

Stating that such anti-farmer steps had never been witnessed earlier, Mr Majithia said farmers were already reeling under a spate of suicides due to the Congress party’s failure to keep its promise to waive off the entire Rs 90,000 crore loan acquired by farmers from nationalized and cooperative banks as well as private money lenders. “The suicide toll has cross the 450 mark and is likely to shoot up even further with actions like destruction of paddy fields”, he added.

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