The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Partap Singh Bajwa on Monday condemned the Parkash Singh Badal-led state government for halting paddy procurement which resulted in non-payment to farmers.
Blaming the state government, he said the issue showed the government’s inefficiency and mishandling of the procurement operations.
He pointed out that the credit limit had never been stopped midway as happened in this case after the first installment of Rs 8,000 crore was released while the second installment of Rs 10,000 crore was still awaited. Farmers had not been paid for the last ten days and lakhs of tonnes of paddy was yet to be procured.
“It is ironic that the CM has not uttered a word on this issue against the Narendra Modi government at the Centre,” remarked Bajwa. He added that this was worse than what Badal used to describe as step-motherly treatment during the UPA regime, despite the fact that former PM Dr Manmohan Singh had always been liberal towards Punjab.
He further said that it was not the first instance where the Modi government had adopted such a rigid attitude towards Punjab. He referred to the rejection of financial package to the state by finance minister Arun Jaitley.
“Credit limit is given for the entire produce to be procured on the basis of the forecast made by the state government. This limit is sanctioned by the Reserve bank of India. The adjustments, if any, are made only after the procurement season is over and not mid-way as has happened this time. It is this government which is directly responsible for this state of affairs as it has failed to convince its own government,” he added.
Bajwa slammed Badal and said that he was busy meeting Arun Jaitley and other leaders to save the coalition with BJP and hardly had any time to present the case of poor farmers of Punjab to the union government. He urged Badal to take up this issue with the Centre on a priority.