Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday flayed the Centre's "announcement" on providing direct financial assistance to farmers as relief in the wake of poor rain. Party general secretary and chief spokesperson Prem Singh Chandumajra, while addressing a news conference here, said that by giving direct relief to farmers, the UPA government was trying to create a "divide" between the SAD and farmers.
He went on to attack Punjab Congress MPs who had lobbied hard for the direct payment of compensation with the Centre. Questioning the Centre's move, Chandumajra said financial relief to farmers could not be given without using the state's machinery.
He said union ministers Sharad Pawar and Jairam Ramesh should not have "endorsed" direct payment as demanded by Congress MPs. Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar yesterday said that the Centre had desired to give direct payment to farmers in Punjab and Haryana for spending additional expenditure, like on diesel to run water pumps, to save their kharif crops.
Punjab had demanded a central packagesof Rs 5,112 crore in the wake of deficient rain this kharif season, raising additional expenditure of the state government and farmers to save their crops.