Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Saturday, demanded a relief package of Rs 2380 crore from the Centre to deal with the drought situation in the state.
Badal, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the morning, also accused the Centre of leaving out Punjab while announcing relief packages for states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Haryana saying this had “caused profound anguish and resentment among Punjab farmers.”
“Badal sought a liberal agricultural relief package of Rs 2380 crore for the drought-hit farmers of the state,” the Punjab Government said in a release.
The Chief Minister said the country at large and Punjab in particular were sitting on the brink of an agricultural emergency due to a combination of natural and human factors.
“The brave farmers of Punjab have always come to the rescue of the country in their hours of crises. It is the turn of the country now to come to their rescue,” Badal told the Prime Minister.
Badal also called for putting in place a “permanent, in-built rapid-response economic system to meet farm emergencies such as those caused by Monsoon failure, floods or other natural causes.”
Accusing the Centre of ignoring Punjab, he said, “This is not the first time that farmers of the country’s biggest contributor to national food kitty had been completely by-passed. Earlier also, the Centre had bypassed Punjab while announcing a package of Rs 70,000 crore for states affected by farm indebtedness and resultant suicides.”
Badal said unless the farmers were helped in their hour of grave crisis, the entire economy would take a big hit, seriously and adversely impacting all growth targets.
“It is in the overall national interest to come up with a bold and timely response to bail the farmers out of this crisis,” he said.
Alleging that the Centre was controlling every aspect of decision making when it came to the farm sector, the Chief Minister said, “States have no say in policy-formulation and decision making on any aspect concerning the present and future of agriculture.”