While cases of suicide by farmers in the Malwa belt have risen during the last few months, union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said here on Sunday that compensation was not the only solution to tackle this issue.
The Bathinda MP, who was here on a two-day visit to address representatives of the civic body in Budhlada, blamed the previous Congress-led UPA government for the deplorable condition of farmers in the state.
"Suicides by farmers are the fallout of faulty schemes of the previous government. Farmers never received adequate prices for their products despite market fluctuations." Though the central government recently stopped crop diversification funds to the state, yet Harsimrat stressed that farmers should adopt crop diversification and also focus on value addition-cum- skill building techniques.
"Demanding compensation after suicide by a farmer is not the immediate solution to this problem. Farming is no more a viable option and farmers should look to hone their skills to connect themselves with the food processing industry. Focusing on farm produce will help in improving their condition."
While responding to the queries about the AIIMS being set up in Bathinda, the minister criticised the Congress party for not doing anything good for the state and challenged them to highlight a single major project which was launched in Punjab in their regime.
"They could not achieve even half of what we have done in the last one year. AIIMS will be set up in Punjab and its location should not be treated in isolation." Taking a jibe at Amritsar member of parliament (MP) Captain Amarinder Singh, who criticsised the sangat darshan programmes, the minister said that Captain should first start attending parliamentary proceedings before preaching sermons to others. She also alleged that when in power, Captain Amarinder played vendetta politics by arresting SAD workers without any reason.
Mansa not ready for major projects, disappointment for locals
The minister, who has been frequently visiting Mansa after winning the Lok Sabha elections, has not launched any major project in the district besides doling out some grants for sewerage and water supply. When asked about the same, the minister claimed that Mansa has not developed into a location where major projects could be set up like Fazilka where a food processing park was set up recently.
"Before launching any major project, we conduct a feasibility study to monitor different aspects. "Mansa is not a place where major projects can be launched. It will take some time before we can launch a major project from here. Bathinda is a district, which has better connectivity across the state and is an ideal place to launch such projects."
The local residents were left disappointed as they were hoping that the minister might lay a foundation stone for a mega project. "She has been giving grants for sewerage for the last one year but the situation has remained the same. Hope she facilitates a hospital or a college in the region," said a local resident. The minister met representatives of the Budhlada civic body and provided grants for sewerage and road construction.