Punjab state’s Malwa region, witnessed the catastrophic attack by whitefly, a common pest on the cotton crop last year. The attack blemished about two third of the cotton crop in the state, with an estimated loss of Rs. 4,200 crore. With about 12 lakh acres of land under cotton crop out of which 6.75 lakh acres of land was being attacked by the whitefly, various farmers chose the suicidal way out of the vicious circle. Leaving behind a major trail of destruction, the whitefly attack on the cotton crop ultimately led to deteriorating the agricultural sector and the economic growth of the state.
The Shiromani Akali Dal- BJP led state government, is always seen to be conducive to the needs of the farmers and the laborers. Similar has been the case with the whitefly cotton crop attack. The state government cleared a Rs. 600 crore compensation package for the cotton growers. Rs. 520 crore had been sanctioned for the farmers affected by the whitefly attack. The responsive government of the state, has already disbursed Rs. 170 crore for the farmers undergoing cotton crop failure. The Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced to provide a compensation of Rs. 64 crore to the cotton pickers. Keeping in view the same, the chief minister claimed that the farm labourers are entitled to be paid 10% (i.e. Rs. 800 per acre) of the Rs. 8000 per acre compensation, which is to be given to the effected farmers.
A senior officer from the agriculture department of the state in a media report stated that, “We are also giving relief to farmers whose crop loss is between 26 and 33% (Rs 2,000 per acre) from the state government’s own funds. Though the Centre gives a compensation of Rs 5,400 per acre under the disaster relief fund (for damage between 33-75%), Punjab is giving additional Rs 2,600 per acre as aid from its own kitty, in case the crop loss is between 76 and 100%. This aims at ensuring that farmers who have suffered over 75% loss get Rs 8,000 an acre as compensation,”
Such farmer friendly attitude of the state government has been of immense help for the cotton crop farmers, who were not only effected by the whitefly attack but also due to the deceitful pesticides that were evident in the state when the farmer’s carnage took place. Karan Avtar Singh, the secretary of revenue and Suresh Kumar, the secretary of development in the state moved across the affected regions of Bathinda, Fazlika, Muktsar and Mansa districts of Punjab with a view of formulating policies of relief for the farmers, in order to cope up with any natural calamities in future.
Punjab today, turns out to be the anchor of stability and economic growth in the agricultural sector of the country. No matter how catastrophic an attack is, the dedicated efforts of the government shall help to eliminate the scourge from the state.