The 50% increase in the compensation amount for the rain-hit crops by the central government may not be a matter of happiness for 'pro-farmer' Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal as he had been a votary of at least Rs 20,000 per acre compensation to farmers for the damage of crops.
Earlier, farmers were entitled to a maximum of Rs 5,000 per acre compensation and now the maximum compensation will be around Rs 7,500 per acre. Each farmer also does not get maximum compensation according to the criteria.
During floods in Muktsar in 2013, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had not only criticised the criteria of the compensation limit set by the-then central government, but had also strongly demanded Rs 20,000 per acre compensation from the-then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
"On the one hand, the cost of farming inputs is on an all-time high and, on the other, the Centre has quantified the rate of this compensation merely at Rs 3,400 per acre. In view of the substantial loss suffered by farmers due to recent floods, we are ready to help our brethren in this hour of crisis, but our hands are tied due to stringent norms stipulated by the Centre, not allowing us to do so," Badal had said while visiting flood-affected areas of Muktsar in 2013.
However, Badal never repeated Rs 20,000-per acre compensation demand after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government took charge at the Centre. However, he always stood for revision of the compensation amount.
The chief minister's home district Muktsar was again hit by floods in 2014 and, during the visit to the affected villages in September 2014, the CM had said, "I had time and again raised the issue of enhancing the relief amount to be disbursed amongst the farmers with the previous Union government, but as the Congress leaders were unaware of the ground situation, so they had hardly paid any heed towards this genuine demand due to which the victims of the natural tragedy were suffering a lot. Now, the NDA government must adopt a liberal approach for duly compensating the flood-hit farmers in this hour of crisis."
Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Shingara Singh Mann, said, "The increase in the compensation is negligible. At least Rs 25,000 per acre compensation is required to support the farmers. The announcement by the central government is just an eyewash."