Drought aid: Sukhbir lashes out at Centre for neglecting Punjab | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Drought aid: Sukhbir lashes out at Centre for neglecting Punjab

chandigarh Updated: Aug 02, 2012 22:18 IST
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Following Centre's decision to not provide a drought-relief package to Punjab, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday lashed out at the UPA government.

"Because of a weak monsoon, the demand for power and expenses on diesel went up to a 'record level'. The Centre on July 31 announced relief package of about Rs 2,000 crore for various states except Punjab," Badal said at a rally here.

Punjab has already purchased power worth Rs 7,000 crore. "A weak monsoon has increased power consumption, putting a load on the total electrical system," Badal said.

Though Punjab State Power Corporation Limited is trying to buy more power, it is not available in the open market even at Rs 12 per unit, he said.

Badal also refuted allegations that Punjab overdrew power, which led to the collapse of the northern grid earlier this week. The deputy CM instead blamed Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for the blackout.

While the input cost of farmers due to diesel and other inputs increased by Rs 8,000 per acre, the Centre "ditched" farmers by announcing a "meagre hike" in the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy, he said.

Badal added that Punjab's farming sector consumed more than 3% of the diesel consumed by the country. "It, however, has now reached 8% because of the unprecedented dependence on diesel-powered pumps," he said.

"SAD and its NDA partners would strongly raise this issue in the ensuing Monsoon session of Parliament and pressurise the Centre to do justice to Punjab," he said, adding that he along with the CM would soon call on the Prime Minister and other ministers to plead for drought-relief and additional allocation of 1,000 MW power from central pool.