Expressing serious concern over the drought like situation prevailing in Punjab in view of the poor monsoon, Capt Amarinder Singh, Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha and Amritsar MP, has asked the state government to draw up a contingency plan to save agriculture.
In a statement issued on Monday, he also suggested that the government order a special timely 'girdawari' to assess the losses to the farmers so that they can be adequately compensated.
The MP felt that it was high time that the state government introduced the crop insurance scheme, which has been pending for a long time and has long been promised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
HT had, in its Monday edition, highlighted the drought like situation prevailing in the border districts, with the region having received scanty rainfall since paddy transplanting began in June. If rains fail to hit the region, farmers will be dependent on groundwater for irrigation and this will escalate their input costs for maintaining their crops, particularly paddy and basmati.
The former chief minister pointed out that half of the July month was over and still there were no rains except mild showers here or there. He said that huge areas across the state, particularly along the border belt like Amritsar, are facing the worst drought conditions and it was the responsibility of the government to draw up a plan to provide relief.
The MP observed that the state government with a "friendly government" at the Centre should have no problem in getting a proper contingency plan approved and funded on time.
"Earlier they (the Akalis) had the standard excuse of accusing the Centre of non-cooperation but now with NDA in power there, of which they are a constituent party, they must not have any problem", he pointed out.
The Congress leader said that this is high time that the state government chalked out a plan so that the farmers are compensated on time.
"I don't understand what prevents the state government from taking timely initiative rather than wasting precious time. Sooner the government does it, the better it would be for the farmers. Otherwise it will be too late", he cautioned.