The Punjab unit of the Congress on Thursday accused deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of ignoring the farmers' plight as they face hassles in paddy procurement and preferring to tour Mumbai to meet the corporate heads there.
"Sukhbir should realise that Punjab stands out as a leading state due to foodgrain production by farmers and not because of the Tatas or Mahindras, whom he is meeting at the cost of farmers," Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Khaira said in a statement here.
"There is complete anarchy in grain markets of the state with blatant loot of farmers by the procurement agencies and rice shellers. The farmers are being forced to sell their paddy at Rs 250 to Rs 300 per quintal, far below the minimum support price of Rs 1,345 per quintal. The SAD-BJP government had forced farmers to sow varieties of PUSA-144 and PUSA-122, which the agencies are now refusing to procure," Khaira claimed.
He said the Badal government had failed to provide relief to the poor suffering farmers who were being looted in the name of "discolour and high moisture content". Khaira highlighted a recent incident in which a farner had died of heart failure at a grain market near Kapurthala.
"What is most intriguing is the timing chosen by Sukhbir to visit Mumbai. He could have gone there after the procurement season. This shows the scant respect the deputy chief minister has for those very voters who are responsible for giving a second term to the Akali-BJP government," Khaira said.
He alleged that Sukhbir was more interested in promoting his hotel coming up near Mullanpur in the proposed New Chandigarh for which he opted to woo big industrialists of Mumbai to invest in the Mullanpur region.