Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday met a group of Congress MLAs protesting outside his residence which demanded payment of sugarcane arrears to farmers and withdrawal of property tax, to their satisfaction.
The delegation of the Congress legislators led by leader of the opposition in Punjab assembly Sunil Jakhar gave a memorandum to Badal.
Badal assured that he would soon convene a meeting with the officers of the various departments in light of the memorandum submitted by them before taking a final decision, according to an official spokesman.
The key demands included payment of sugarcane arrears of Rs. 183 crore to farmers, rehabilitation of drug addicts lodged in jails, withdrawal of property tax and release of payments under various schemes to the scheduled caste beneficiaries.
Badal told Jakhar that "these issues would be amicably resolved, hopefully to their satisfaction." Badal said that he had always welcomed healthy criticism
Badal also told Jakhar that the genuine issues of his party MLAs related to the development of assembly segments would be sorted out in consultation with the concerned MLAs.
He also promised to get the issue of sub-plan component for scheduled castes and payment of the pre-and post-matric scholarship to the SC students would be thoroughly examined so that the funds allocated for the welfare of the weaker sections must reach to the eligible beneficiaries.
Expressing displeasure over protest in front of his residence, Badal said he would have more happy to offer them a cup of tea, had they come inside his residence to discuss the issues in a better way.
Referring to the issue of clearing the pending arrears of cane growers, Badal said that he would soon get the entire matter examined at highest level to ensure its prompt payment without any further delay.
Later, Badal told reporters that his government is adopting zero tolerance towards the drug menace.
He categorically said that he cannot take any action against anyone without any proof.
"More than seven years of the SAD-BJP rule has taken Punjab to the brink of collapse in almost all socio-economic spheres," Jakhar said.
"The rising unemployment, widespread drug addiction, closure of industries, mis-governance and corruption in every government department has forced the Congress legislators to agitate on the streets," the memorandum says.
The memorandum further mentioned that Punjab government has been making tall claims of crop diversification initiative and yet nothing is being done on the ground to ameliorate the plight of Punjab farmers.
"The Punjab government is yet to disburse pending dues of Rs. 183 crore to sugarcane farmers of Punjab, owed to them by the government owned sugar mills," it said.
"Punjab Congress demands immediate release of outstanding dues to sugarcane farmers and an impartial inquiry into misappropriation of diversification fund received from central government in 2013-14," the memorandum further mentioned.