The district administration failed to publicise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled radio programme 'Mann ki Baat' unlike his previous flagship ones on the Teacher's Day and the Beti Bachao campaign in Mansa, a district which has seen suicide by some farmers due to crop loss in the recent past.
The latest talk on the radio by the Prime Minister was aimed at addressing the grievances of the farmers on the 'controversial' land acquisition bill. But, unlike his previous flagship programmes that saw extensive public relations (PR) exercise, this time, the administration was caught unawares about the scheduled programme and failed to create awareness regarding the same in the district.
Deputy commissioner Bhupinder Singh Rai said that he was not aware of this radio show nor the administration had been conveyed any message from the state authorities to publicise the scheduled show.
Other senior officers also expressed ignorance as they didn't know about the whole programme. "I am not aware whether it was publicised in the district," claimed a senior PCS officer.
Employees of the Public Relations Department gave similar response and said, "We were not issued any order regarding this." When the PM launched the 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' programme, the district administration actively participated and publicised it throughout the district.
Farmers find fault with administration
Meanwhile, farmers and various groups backing their rights have severely criticised the PM on the land acquisition bill.
"What 'Mann ki Baat' the PM is claiming to share when farmers in the state are forced to surrender their land to big corporate houses? We were not informed about any such radio programme by the district administration," said Ram Singh Bhainibagah, district president, Bharatiya Kisan Union.
Another farmers' union leader, having close affiliation with the BJP, alleged that the district administration deliberately tried to keep the farmers in the dark as it was not a state- sponsored programme. "It was an issue-based discussion which farmers from all over the state could not afford to miss. But, the administration has failed us again. Had it been an Akali-sponsored campaign, they would have made all the arrangements."
The farmers, who are still struggling to receive compensation for their damaged crops, felt that these programmes on the radio won't change the situation on the ground.
"Why doesn't PM respond when we hold protests demanding our rights?For how long, we have to come on streets and demanding our due rights?" said Gurjant Singh from Musa village, where two farmers committed suicide last year after floods damaged the cotton crop.