With an eye on the assembly elections, the much-hyped Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana launched by the state government for farmers offering them Rs 5 lakh insurance cover along with and free health cover up to Rs 50,000 to the farmer and his family has received a lukewarm response in the district.
Of the over 50,000 farmers in Kapurthala district, the agriculture department had managed to register only around 20,000 farmers for the free insurance scheme despite active awareness campaign by the government.
Chief agriculture officer, Kapurthala, Jugraj Singh said there were 53,532 farmers in the district and only 19,896 had opted for the scheme since December 2015.
Agriculture department records reveal that 4,223 farmers in Kapurthala, 6,141 in Sultanpur Lodhi, 3,864 in Bholath, 2,162 in Dhilwan and 3,506 in Phagwara have applied for the scheme.
A district-level function will be organised by the district administration at Virsa Vihar on Monday to distribute cards to the beneficiaries. Cabinet minister Ajit Singh Kohar would preside over the function in which 8,000 Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana cards will be given to farmers in the first phase.
However, most of the farmers who are worried about their wheat crop have termed the scheme eyewash. The say schemes are launched by governments just before elections to get votes.
A farmer from Bholath, Sukhwinder Singh, said the government was making a fool of the farming community for the past several years. “Politicians make promises and forget them conveniently. If the government was serious about the farmers’ welfare, the scheme should have been launched two-three years back,” he added.
Another farmer of Phagwara, Raminderjit Singh Aulakh, said: “The government had even failed to give adequate compensation to the farmers whose crops were damaged due to rain and hailstorm last year. Some farmers got cheques for Rs 250 to Rs 500. The government has launched the scheme just to get farmers’ votes.”
District Mandi officer Pal Singh said they had been making the farmers aware about the scheme. “Farmers can also apply for the scheme after showing a ‘J form’, document that has the record of the sale of the crops with district mandi and Aadhaar card,” he added.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Kapurthala deputy commissioner Jaskiran Singh held a meeting with officials of the health and agriculture departments and district administration regarding the scheme and to review preparations of district-level function.