Reacting on the compensation cheques that will be distributed by chief minister (CM) Parkash Singh Badal from November 30 (Wednesday), border area farmers on Tuesday termed the distribution as ‘lollipops’ being given by the SAD-BJP government to woo them ahead of state assembly elections.
Badal will be distributing cheques of Rs 10,000 as compensation to farmers whose land is located beyond the barbed fence in the border village of Khalra from November 30. The farmers were awaiting compensation as the Centre had acquired their lands to install barbed fence and provide a passage for the security forces. This land was owned by farmers of 220 villages along the Punjab border.
“The victim farmers fought a long legal battle to get adequate compensation and giving relief to us, the Punjab and Haryana high court had approved an annual compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre on March 3, 2014, against which the Centre and the state government moved the Supreme Court expressing their helplessness in giving this amount,” said Raghbir Singh Bhangala, president of Border Area Kisan Welfare Society (BAKWS).
The SC again assigned the case back to the high court. Finally on its directions, a special tribunal was constituted under the supervision of additional and sessions judge of Tarn Taran Darbari Lal in March this year, which paved way for the compensation. The tribunal is getting individual claims from the affected farmers yet, he said.
“Prior to this, we got compensation in 2014 on the high court’s direction, but thereafter, the government did not take our concern seriously. Now, as the state is poll bound, he (CM Badal) remembered us. But the cheques being given by the CM on Wednesday is the due amount of 2015. Besides, it is being distributed on court’s directions and there is fifty-fifty share of the Centre and state in it,” said Harjit Singh, another affected farmer from Khemkaran.
Meanwhile, Border Area Sangharsh Committee activist Asal Singh Arsal said the state government is taking credit for it and misleading the farmers that the compensation is only from state government’s exchequer.