In her recent visit to Mansa, union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal announced that the farmers will be adequately compensated for their damaged wheat crop, however farmers are still awaiting compensation for the loss incurred last year due to damage to the cotton crop.
The agriculture department, in its survey, had stated that 6,587 acres of agricultural land in all 14 villages of Mansa sub-division and 18 of Jhunir sub-division had been affected by waterlogging on September 2. Some farmers had committed suicide as they could not bear the shock of damage to the crop.
The district administration had then submitted a report demanding compensation for the houses that collapsed due to a flood-like situation and also for the damaged cotton crops. Though the administration has received partial amount of compensation for the damaged houses, farmers are still awaiting compensation. "We have received around `35-40 lakh as compensation amount but due to non-availability of cheque books, the beneficiaries could not receive the amount," said a senior officer. The officer further added that the state government has still not cleared the rest of the amount of compensation for the loss of cotton crops.
No compensation given to suicide victim families
The families of those farmers who have committed suicide during the last one year have been demanding compensation for the last few months but the administration doesn't even have proper record of the same.
Punjab Agriculture University was assigned the job of carrying out an independent survey to find out the actual number of suicide cases involving farmers. "After the survey report was submitted, we again protested in Bathinda to get compensation for around 700 farmers who had committed suicide till 2009," said Ram Singh Behnibagha, leader of the Bharat Kisan Union. The district administration claims that they have not compiled the records of farmer suicides committed after 2013.
"We have not done any survey to determine the number of farmer suicides, though we keep receiving applications for the same. The applications are then sent to the respective sub-divisions for verification," said an employee of the deputy commissioner's office.
On April 12, Paramjeet Singh, a farmer from Jwaharker village, had committed suicide after he saw that his crops were damaged due to unseasonal rain.
His family has been contacting government offices pleading to waive his bank loans. "We have requested the deputy commissioner to waive bank loans," said one of the relatives, who met the deputy commissioner of Mansa.