Chandigarh, July 1, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today said chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had practically reneged on the free power facility extended to farmers by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal by refusing to provide eight hours uninterrupted power supply to them during the peak of the paddy season.
“After betraying farmers by refusing to implement a complete farm loan waiver, the chief minister has now effectively made the free power facility redundant in Punjab. Farmers need power the most during the paddy season. Instead of the committed eight hours uninterrupted power supply they are being given three to four hours supply forcing them to spend thousands of rupees every day on diesel generators to save their paddy crop.
All this is being done deliberately as part of a conspiracy to avoid paying subsidy to the State electricity utility for free power given to farmers in order to keep the subsidy bill down”.
Stating that this anti-farmer policy would play havoc with the farm economy, Mr Sukhbir Badal said “many farmers are being forced to plough their paddy fields. Thousands have not completed sowing of paddy due to lack of power”. He said farmers were already burdened from the start of the paddy season and had to use generator sets to transplant their paddy crop.
The Congress government had then given excuses for lack of power supply and promised to regularize it shortly. Instead of doing this, the situation has become worse now forcing farmers to come out on the roads in spontaneous protests across the State”.
Asserting the need to wake up the chief minister from his slumber, Mr Badal said the SAD cadre would hold protests outside PSPCL offices tomorrow to demand restoration of power supply for both the agricultural and domestic sector in Punjab. ‘We also demand the government pay a bonus of Rs 50 per quintal to farmers for the extra cost incurred by them in rearing their paddy crop”.
The SAD President also condemned the Congress government for severe cuts imposed on the domestic sector in Punjab, saying these could have been easily averted with well planned Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). He said the situation was such that the government was even punishing the industrial sector for its deliberate failure to augment power supply during the peak load months.
“Now a two day compulsory off has also been imposed on the industrial sector which is yet to come back on the rails after the setback due to the Covid pandemic”.
Mr Badal said it was shocking that while the entire State was in turmoil, Capt Amarinder Singh was unmoved and was busy hosting lavish lunches for Congress leaders to avert a revolt in the party.
“Some members of the Congress are still busy lobbying in Delhi”, he said adding this utter insensitivity to the suffering of the farmers and common man would cost the Congress party dearly.