Swaraj Abhiyan will move the Supreme Court, filing a criminal petition against the state of Punjab for the severe damage to the cotton crop in the state’s Malwa belt, as its convener Yogendra Yadav on Sunday announced that the volunteers’ body would also hold a “public hearing” of the affected farmers, including the relatives of those who committed suicide due to the crop loss.
“The devastation of such a huge crop loss is an issue of criminal culpability wherein the state government is directly involved in the selling of fake pesticides that led to the crop loss on over 3.3 lakh acres,” Yadav told a press conference here, pointing out the infamous pesticide scam in which the agriculture director had been arrested and later released on bail.
Demanding the resignation of state agriculture minister Tota Singh for the losses, Yadav accused the minister of being directly involved in the scam.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rebel MP Dharamvira Gandhi, who accompanied Yadav, said noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan would meet the affected farmers and hold a legal camp in Bathinda on December 27 to facilitate them in getting the damages from the state, besides fighting their cases. “Bhushan will fight the case in the Supreme Court on behalf of cotton farmers like innumerable other such cases free of cost,” Yadav and Gandhi said.
Gandhi, who had also raised the issue in Parliament, said even the Centre was insensitive over the crop damage that led several farmers to commit suicide. “As many as 75 such suicides by cotton growers had occurred so far due to the crop damage in the past two months,” Gandhi said.
“This was not a natural disaster but a result of fake and spurious pesticides sold in connivance with unscrupulous government officials, politicians and corporates,” they said.