BATHINDA: Contradicting the constant economic package demand of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal from the Centre, Union minister for food processing industry and member Parliament from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday said Punjab doesn’t need a special package.
The chief minister had knocked at the Union government’s door several times for a special package since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power.
“There is no need of a special package for the state. When needed, the Union government would do the needful,” said Harsimrat, who is also the daughter-in-law of the Punjab CM.
Speaking on the sidelines of a public function in Bathinda on Tuesday, Harsimrat said: “How can the Union government be blamed for the pest attack in the state’s cotton belt?” She said the Centre had already lowered the percentage of calculating the damage from 50% to 33%, besides increasing compensation from `3,600 to 8,000 per acre for cotton farmers.
“Though the crop loss is unfortunate, the condition of farmers in Punjab is much better than in Maharashtra and Vidarbha,” Harsimrat said, terming the damage to cotton crop a natural calamity.
Both the CM and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal have been demanding a special package for the state, but their meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union ministers have failed to yield results. Badal even met the PM after the Centre announced `1.25 lakh crore financial package for the poll-bound Bihar.
Harsimrat differed from Akali legislators and parliamentarians who have been blaming the Union government of ignoring the state and its farmers. Even the party’s Rajya Sabha member Balwinder Singh Bhunder condemned Centre for not giving special economic package to bail out Punjab and its farmers.
COPS FOIL PROTEST PLANS
The farmers had planned to ghereo Harsimrat on her way to Harraipur village, but the police foiled their plans by diverting her cavalcade to alternative route. Harsimrat also cancelled her visit to Goniana, 14km from Bathinda, after a shutdown in the town on Tuesday. The police also remained on toes during a function to distribute sanction letters under the Mudra scheme.