Dr Nimisha / Chandigarh
Punjab and Haryana knock on Centre's doors to tide over the drough-like situation in these states.
With drought like situation staring at Punjab, the state government says that farmers in the state have suffered a loss of Rs 5,200 crore so far due to deficit rain.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal have been consistent in demanding central assistance ever since it became clear the their would be a severe shortfall in Monsoon rains.
Parliamentary Secretary, Irrigation, Sohan Singh Thandal said that the Central Government should have discharged its constitutional duty by announcing special economic package for the state but the proposal put forward by Punjab has not yet been considered.
He, in fact, urged the Centre to sympathetically consider the proposal of Punjab and announce special economic package to sustain the agriculture sector.
He said that although some regions of the state had witnessed rain in past few days, but the water level in the main dams is still very low. The water flow in the rivers is 10 per cent low and the generation of the power through the hydro projects had taken a sharp plunge, he added.
Thandal said that due to this natural calamity, the peasantry of the state has been forced to spend more money on diesel to irrigate their fields. He further said that the state incurred Rs 7,000 crore in June and July to purchase power by spending Rs 1,656 crore more than the normal rates.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal has demanded that centre must pay compensation of Rs.200 per quintal on crop as a draught relief to the farmers of the Punjab.
Lakhowal said that a delegation led by him had met the union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at New Delhi and informed him that Punjab government had purchased power worth Rs.1530 crores to provide power supply to the farmers for the irrigation of paddy crops as such the centre must pay this amount to the state government.
He said that they had also informed the union minister that farmers had spent extra amount of Rs.850 crore on diesel for running the tube wells and Rs. 350 crore for installing deep tube wells in the state as such they must be compensated for the same by making direct payment to them in this regard.
Lakhowal, who is also chairman of Punjab Mandi Board, said that they were contemplating to levy 'Users charges' on vegetable and fruits arriving in the mandis instead of charging market fee.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had earlier demanded a relief of Rs 2,380 crore from the Centre. This figure was revised to Rs 5200 crore as most of the areas pf the state had a deficit rainfall upto 50 percent.
Farmers in Punjab say that officials of the Union government frame policies for the country while sitting in their plush air conditioned offices, without caring about the needs and ground realities of the country.
Punjab, known as food bowl of the country, contributes 30 per cent of rice into central pool. Officials say that the current weather conditions was "one of the worst monsoon failures" and the harvest would be poor and uneconomical for the farmers as they had to use excessive diesel to revive the dying crops.
During his visit to Chandigarh, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had reviewed the situation
With Haryana facing 50 per cent deficit rainfall during the current monsoon, the state government has asked for an assistance of Rs 4,050 crore from the Centre to bail it out from the "drought-like situation."
State chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also demanded a bonus of Rs 200 per quintal on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy and Rs100 on other crops.
"Farmers in Haryana have to suffer a huge loss in view of scanty rainfall," Hooda said, adding, the Central Ministers admitted that a drought-like situation prevailed in Haryana.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday said that the State Government has urged the Central Government to give Haryana a special package to deal with the situation.
Districts like Mewat, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Jhajjar are badly hit due to poor monsoon in the state. The poor monsoon rain is bearing upon the crops in the state. And, the State Government expects that the expenditure is likely to go up in the coming days to provide 'power' to the farm sector for saving kharif crops in the state.
A deficient monsoon pushed up diesel sales by 13 per cent in July at a time when it was needed the most to keep the crops alive due to absence of water in the field. The July 2012 industry sales review report of the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell shows that diesel consumption was dominated by the monsoon factor. The rain deficiency was acute in Haryana and Punjab. The two rain deficient States recorded high diesel sales growth as use of pump sets goes up for irrigation. While the growth in diesel sales was 26.6 per cent in Haryana, it was 23.6 per cent in Punjab.