Sukhbir Singh Badal accuses Punjab govt of failing to incentivise farmers for curbing stubble-burning; Amarinder Singh calls claim ‘nonsensical’

Chandigarh: SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday accused the Punjab government of having "failed" to incentivise farmers to check stubble burning in the state, prompting Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to term his charges as “nonsensical and misleading”.

Badal had sought to know from the chief minister as to "why has his government failed to incentivise a single farmer to prevent stubble burning".

Sukhbir, in his statement, had also asked Amarinder Singh as to why he was "indulging in politics of lies and deceit by photo ops with the prime minister to befool the farmers of the state".

The chief minister met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Thursday to press for Rs 100 per quintal compensation to farmers to check problem of stubble burning.

 Sukhbir Singh Badal accuses Punjab govt of failing to incentivise farmers for curbing stubble-burning; Amarinder Singh calls claim ‘nonsensical’

File image of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. AFP

Amarinder Singh told Modi that the problem of stubble burning could get aggravated, despite various steps being taken by the state government, with the close of the harvest season, and needed to be urgently addressed.

The Shiromani Akali Dal chief said the chief minister should first give a report card of the utilisation of Rs 385 crore received from the Centre to manage paddy straw.

A "huge scam" was in the making and would be uncovered by the SAD in the coming days, Badal said, raising doubts over the utilisation of the Rs 385 crore.

"Isn't it strange that Captain Amarinder is asking the Centre for more money to compensate farmers before telling why the state has been unable to disburse a single paisa to the annadaata (farmer) for this purpose," he asked.

Sukhbir said the Punjab government should immediately release Rs 3,000 per acre to all paddy growers to cover the cost of managing paddy straw.

"Once you do this, we will accompany you and ask the Centre to give more funds for farmers. However, if you do not do this, you will have to answer why you misused the central funds and did not give any direct benefit to farmers of Punjab," Badal said.

The former deputy chief minister said the SAD would stand with the farmers and would not allow the state government to "prosecute them in any manner".

Reacting to Sukhbir's charges, Amarinder lambasted him for his “baseless and unfounded” allegations against the government over the issue of incentivising farmers to prevent stubble burning.

Reacting strongly to Sukhbir's charges of "misuse of central funds", Amarinder Singh came out with "facts" to flay the former deputy chief minister for “misleading” the people with his completely “unsubstantiated” statement.

Asking him to stop talking “nonsense”, the chief minister told Sukhbir that contrary to his claims, the “Government of India has given only Rs 269 crore out of Rs 665 crore sanctioned for stubble management.”

"And we have already spent Rs 250 crore to provide 25,000 machines, of which 15,367 have actually been delivered and rest will be given by October end,” said the chief minister.

He took a dig at Sukhbir over his remarks on the former's Delhi trips to pressurise the Centre to come to the rescue of the distressed farmers.

"Since you know so much about my Delhi trips, I am sure you would know that I've been seeking Rs 100 per quintal as stubble burning compensation for our farmers. Evidently you don't want that. But that won't stop me from doing everything for the farmers," he said.

Updated Date: Oct 19, 2018 11:49:34 IST