Chandigarh August 14, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal today warned the Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh against the withdrawal of the free power facility to the farmers introduced in 1997 by the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government.
“If you take a single step towards discontinuing free power to farmers, you must prepare yourself and your government to face an unprecedented mass movement by the SAD to safeguard the interests of the already beleaguered peasantry. We will never allow free power to be stopped.
Mr Badal said that the SAD rejects this report as ” inimical to farmers and accepting its recommendations would amount to signing the death warrant of poor farmers.”
He also asked the Chief Minister to “ realise the gravity of the issue and reject today itself the recommendations of the Congress’ blue-eyed economist, Montek Singh Ahluwalia who has described the free power facility as ‘regressive” and advised the govt to stop it.”
Mr Badal was reacting to reports about the recommendations of a committee set up by the Punjab government and headed by Ahluwalia to suggest ways to revive the Punjab economy in the wake of the lockdown following the Covid19 pandemic.
Mr Badal also lashed out at the other recommendation of Montek Ahluwallia in which he had advised the state government to “slow down the procurement of paddy in the state.’ Mr Badal said that this recommendation of the Congress-loyalist economist sets “the cat out of the bag. This is the clinching proof of who really wants to stop assured procurement of farmers’ produce by the government.”
Mr Badal said that these recommendations were meant merely to please “the Maharaja mind-set of the Congress rulers. Free power to farmers has been the most progressive contribution of Mr Parkash Singh Badal to farmers and to the national economy as it has completely secured our food kitty and saved billions of dollars in foreign exchange alone through self-reliance and export in food grains.
It is strange that some arm-chair economists, sitting in air-conditioned rooms in the metropolitan cities pretend to understand farm economics better than the generations of farmers who have spent their lives toiling in midsummer heat in the farms.”
Mr Badal said that Capt Amarinder Singh had always been looking for excuses to stop free power to farmers. “He had actually withdrawn this facility during his previous tenure as Chief Minister during 2002-07 before the SAD forced him through a mass movement to resume it. He has now created a new fig-leaf in the form of the recommendations of the Montek Singh Ahluwalia to cover his true dislike of this life-saving relief given to the farmers by the Badal government.
Farmers are already on the brink of a disaster with the ever increasing costs of farm inputs and the failure of the prices of their produce to keep pace with the rising costs,” said Mr Badal in a statement here this afternoon.