Punjab government struck a Rs 70-crore deal with protesting farmers in Bathinda on Tuesday, after the protesters laid siege to the district administrative complex on the seventh day of the protest.
The agreement was arrived at after deliberations between the protesting farmers under the banner of BKU (Ekta-Ugraha) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the administration. After the meeting, Bathinda deputy commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav said that the state government had started the procedure to release the pending amount of compensation to families of farmers, who had committed suicide owing to debt.
He added that the funds will be released to all districts by February 20 and the process for distributing the same among eligible farmers will be started from February 21 and will be completed within three days. "Families who have been provided compensation of Rs 1 lakh will be provided the rest of the amount of Rs 1 lakh without any verification while the total amount of Rs 2 lakh will be given to other families after verification. The verification process has started," he said.
It has also been decided that 221 families in Gobindpura in Mansa district displaced for setting up of a thermal power plant there will also be provided a compensation of Rs 3 lakh per family. Money for this will also be in by February 20 and will be given to families by February 23. "Five marla plots will also be given to the homeless. Those who have been allotted the plots will be handed over the possession within a week while others can apply for it," he said.
A delegation of farm unions will also meet chief minister Parkash Singh Badal later this month to discuss provision of providing a job to one member of a family who had committed suicide.
Demand for jobs gathers steam
Visually-impaired Paramjit Kaur, 45, wife of Ranjit Singh, a resident of Dabra village in Muktsar district, who had committed suicide in 2003 and was part of the protest along with her grandson Gurvinder Singh and granddaughter Sandeep Kaur expressed satisfaction over the agreement. She said jobs should be provided to one of the members of the suicide victim families.