Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa on Friday visited the Gurdaspur grain market to take stock of the wheat procurement process and talked to the farmers to know their grievances.
He was accompanied by Dinanagar MLA Aruna Chaudhary, PPCC member Raman Bahl, PPCC general secretary Fateh Jang Singh Bajwa and local Congress leaders Ajay Verma, Neeraj Salhotra and Anu Gandotra.
Farmers complained to Bajwa that their produce was not being procured promptly and they had to face hardships at the mandi by waiting for long durations for sale.
Bajwa also went to the office of the Gurdaspur Market Committee, but secretary Kuljit Singh was absent. Bajwa said there was no one even to listen to the problems being faced by the wheat growers.
He said during the previous Congress regime, the process of wheat procurement was smooth across the state and the farmers were paid within 24 hours after procurement.
Bajwa said he had not heard of anyone getting payment against his produce this season.
Bajwa criticised the state government for failing to streamline the procurement even as the process had officially started on April 1. He said due to delay in procurement there was always danger of the produce getting destroyed by rain as it rained in Ferozepur on Friday.
Gurdaspur market committee secretary Kuljit Singh said when Bajwa and other Congress leaders visited his office, he was in another room nearby. “When I tried to enter my office, the security personnel stopped me saying there was no space left inside,” he said.
Pointing to the Punjab government calendar in which chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was seen with folded hands, Bajwa said that Badal had already said “bye” to the people and the next government (of Congress) would solve the problems of the people.
Two farmers Roop Singh and Ajit Singh of Nawan Pind Hundal told Hindustan Times that they had brought their produce to the mandi on Saturday morning, but none of the procurement agencies had contacted them till afternoon. They said there were no facilities for farmers at the mandi when they have to wait for their turn.
Demands CBI probe into ‘grain scam’
Bajwa demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged `12,000-crore foodgrain scam in Punjab. He said CAG had found grains worth the said amount short in the godowns of the state. Bajwa said he would rake up the issue in the Rajya Sabha.
He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to waive off debts of Punjab farmers, saying on an average, five farmers were committing suicides daily in Punjab.
Bajwa also accused Punjab food and supply minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon of allotting the grain-lifting contract to his favourites, who, he alleged, would sublet the work to others at a premium.
Kairon could not be contacted for his comment.
Bajwa also condemned the new state excise policy, which, he said, was an attempt to monopolise the liquor trade in the state.
He said the next government in Punjab would be formed by the Congress. He negated any challenge from Aam Aadmi Party, saying it lacked experience to rule.
On Navjot Singh Sidhu’s nomination to Rajya Sabha, he said it was a welcome step, a decision taken by the BJP under pressure as he (Sidhu) could have joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Offers condolences to Kirpal’s family
Bajwa offered his condolences to the family of Indian prisoner Kirpal Singh, who died in a Pakistan jail on April 12, at Mustafabad Saidan, 7 km from here, on Saturday. He demanded all monetary and other benefits to the family on the lines given to the kin of Sarbjit Singh, who too had died in a Pakistan jail in 2013.