The state government has awarded farmers in Bholath subdivision of district Kapurthala relief cheques of less than Rs 100. The compensation has been awarded for the damage to paddy in last year's floods in the Beas river.
Nearly a dozen farmers belonging to village Mand Sardar Singh Wala have received compensation cheques ranging from Rs 27 to Rs 90; some of them have claimed that 100 per cent of their crop was damaged in the floods.
Gajjan Singh, a farmer, said, "I have received Rs 90 as compensation cheque for damage to six acres of paddy, which was fully destroyed due to floods. While inspecting our crop for damages, the Patwaris, on duty, did not respond to our queries on how much relief we would get."
"This is a bad joke played on us. I have lost my produce worth above Rs 1 lakh, but I have received Rs 90 as compensation." Kulwinder Singh, another farmer, has also received a cheque of Rs 90. "The 'handsome' compensation by this 'farmer-friendly' government is an insult and left us hopeless," he said.
Farmer Tirlok Singh said, "My neighbour's paddy crop was as badly damaged as mine. Yet, he received compensation cheque of Rs 7,500 and I received a cheque of Rs 54. The criteria adopted for awarding relief is beyong logic."
Farmer Chiman Singh, received Rs 38 as compensation, Joginder Singh got Rs 27, Karnail Singh got Rs 36, Sukhwinder Singh and Tara Singh got Rs. 90 as relief.
Former Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira has also condemned the belated and meagre compensation. "It is an eyewash. Losses of small and marginal farmers range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. Unfortunately, the government has offered compensation of less than Rs 100 to affected farmers. It is like adding insult to injury," he said.
Meanwhile, sub divisional magistrate Bholath, Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa, said that the compensation payments have been made after going through the land records registered with government. "Those who have received meager cheques must not have had the full land on their names as per revenue records. They might have failed to register their ownership with the revenue department. We have distributed the compensation according to the share of land they hold, as per our records," he said.
Farmers said: "We are going to return all cheques by registered post to CM Punjab. He should know the mocking ways of the state government."