Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa visited the flood-hit areas of Muktsar and Faridkot districts on Monday. Claiming that his visit was not a reaction to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's visit to Gurdaspur, his hometown, Bajwa alleged: "Badal is busy in playing politics."
He added: "The CM preferred to hold a sangat darshan in Qadian (Bajwa's home town) instead of taking care of people in his own constituency. Residents of Lambi, Malout, Gidderbaha and Muktsar constituencies are awaiting government help, two weeks after flash floods."
Bajwa was joined by Gidderbaha MLA Amarinder Singh Raja Warring at Vadian village of Malout from where he was taken to Aulakh, Bhundar, Karniwala, Raniawala, Bodiwala, Midda, Bamb, Udaikaran, Mehraj and Harikewala villages.
"The CM has spent most of the funds for flood protection in Muktsar and yet it submerged. For other districts, Badal sanctioned only Rs. 20 lakh. He has claimed that over the last six years, Rs. 1,900 crore have been spent on strengthening of canals, banks and flood protection works. Where is the money gone."
Bajwa claimed that the SAD-BJP government earmarked Rs. 922.64 crore for irrigation and flood control sector in the 2012-13, which included 75% central grant. "The funds are being misutilised," he claimed.
Bajwa demanded that the compensation for damaged crops be raised to Rs. 25,000 per acre for complete damage and Rs15,000 per acre for partially damaged crops.
Bajwa also flayed the SAD-BJP government for asking the PWD department to obtain Rs. 1,000 crore loan for widening of roads and to recover the loan from people by imposing toll tax.
He said that people were already under heavy taxes and also questioned the rationale of toll tax while road users are already paying road tax and Motor Vehicle Tax, beside other taxes in shape of penalties under Motor Vehicle Act.
He claimed that standing crop in about 1.74 lakh acres was damaged in Muktsar district. More than 200 villages are affected in Malwa and schools in 60 villages were still lying closed. He said that 6.5 lakh acres of standing crop was damaged in Punjab, but the maximum damage was done in Muktsar, where 1,01,394 acres have been hit, apart from 54,520 acres in Malout and 18,600 acres in Gidderbaha.
Bajwa was accompanied by Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Jeet Mohinder Singh, Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Raja Amarinder Waring, Karan Kaur Brar (MLAs), Harminder Singh Jassi and Rupinder Bindra.