Number of compensation-seeking farmers falls after govt verification

Out of a total of 2,900 applications received from small and marginal farmers, who claimed that they haven’t defied the ban on stubble burning in Faridkot district, the verification of these applicants found that only about 700 of these applicants were genuine in their claim

Balwant Garg

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 24

A week after a deluge of applications from farmers, seeking a compensation of Rs 2,500 per acre for not burning paddy stubble in the district, the inflow of applications is now witnessing a ‘drastic’ fall after the administration started verification and public auditing of these claims and warned fake claimants of a strict legal action.

Out of a total of 2,900 applications received from small and marginal farmers who claimed not to have defied the ban on stubble burning in Faridkot district, the verification of these applications found that only about 700 of these applicants were genuine in their claim.

After reports of some ineligible farmers getting compensation for not burning paddy stubble in Fazilka and Sangrur, the state government had suspended the payment of compensation to all applications and ordered the verification of details of the claimants.

Making the verification process more stringent in Faridkot, the district administration is working at four levels. After a panchayat secretary received an application from a farmer, it is his duty to verify the claim and get it vetted from the sarpanch of the village, the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) concerned. Then the cluster officer has to make physical verification of the claim by visiting the field. Even after the four-layered verification of the claim of not burning stubble, this verification report is read out before the village panchayat, disclosing the name of beneficiaries and inviting objection, if any, from the residents in the village.

In Faridkot, out of the 2,900 applications received so far, the verification has found about 700 cases as genuine, but these verified claimants have not been given the compensation amount as yet. As the state government has warned of a legal action against the false claimants, it has led to a steep decline in the inflow of applications for compensation.

To verify some claims, when Mandeep Kaur, SDM, Kotkapura, visited some fields at Khara and Wander Jatana villages of Faridkot, most of the claimants did not turn up to support their claim, casting doubt on their claims.

“The district administration does not want to rely on the verifications by the sarpanches for their political affiliations and the credentials of many panchayat secretaries are also doubtful, so the cluster officers and the BDPs have been given the responsibility to personally verify the claim,” said a senior functionary in the district administration, preferring anonymity.

“So that there is no allegation of partiality and favourtism, the names of the identified beneficiaries are being read out before the village panchayats and any person is at liberty to contest this claim,” said the officer.

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