10 days on, bollworm-hit await hiked relief order

Muktsar farmers ended agitation on April 5 after CM earmarked Rs. 55 cr aid

10 days on, bollworm-hit await hiked relief order

Tribune News Service

Archit Watts

Muktsar, April 15

Even 10 days after the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU) lifted their indefinite protest from the district administrative complex (DAC) here, claiming Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had given them an assurance during a meeting on April 5 of earmarking Rs 50 crore for farmers and Rs 5 crore for farm labourers of the district for the damage to cotton crop due to pink bollworm attack, senior officers in the district administration today said they had not received any written orders in this regard and were disbursing the compensation as decided earlier.

Disbursal as per girdawari

We have not yet got written orders from higher-ups about hike in compensation. We are disbursing relief as per ‘girdawari’ done in the past. — Parmod Singla, Malout SDM

Talking to The Tribune today, Malout SDM Parmod Singla said: “We have not yet got written orders from the higher-ups about increase in compensation amount or area. We are disbursing the compensation as per the ‘girdawari’ done in the past, which is accurate.”

Similarly, Muktsar District Revenue Officer Balkaran Singh said: “The relief money is being transferred directly to the bank accounts of affected farmers. Nearly 6,500 farmers of 11 villages (10 in Lambi and one in Gidderbaha blocks) are to be compensated in the district and Rs 4.5 crore have come for this purpose. As of now, we have transferred Rs 1.75 crore in compensation to the bank accounts of 2,700 farmers. The compensation is decided as per the damage of cotton crop, which remains between Rs 2,200 and Rs 12,000 per acre.”

Gurpash Singh Singhewala, Lambi block president of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), said: “We lifted the protest only after our state leadership met the CM on April 5, in which the latter assured Rs 50 crore relief to cotton growers and Rs 5 crore to farm labourers in the district. Besides, he agreed to fulfil other demands like departmental action against then DC and Malout DSP for ordering lathicharge on farmers on March 28. Further, the CM had promised that the FIR registered against us will be cancelled. However, nothing has happened on the ground. We will meet the new DC and decide our future course of action.”

On March 28, some farmers under the banner of BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) had held captive a naib-tehsildar, some patwaris and other staff at the sub-tehsil office in Lambi for nearly eight hours, demanding compensation for all cotton growers in the district.

Later, the police had allegedly used force in which seven farmers were injured. Thereafter, on March 29, the Revenue Department’s officers and clerical staff had started a strike across the state. Meanwhile, the Lambi police booked nine farmers by name and nearly 150 unidentified persons.

#bhagwant mann #BKU #farmers #pink bollworm

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