Pb Govt coming to rescue of farmers facing damage to crops

With the farmers facing the wrath of weather gods or man-made calamity one after another season in Punjab, the state government has come up with new measures and a host of compensation packages for the farmers all over the state.

The basic objective of new measures which have been announced by the SAD-BJP government is to ensure that no section of farmers is left out.

Pb Govt coming to rescue of farmers facing damage to crops.pngIt was a result of holistic approach of Punjab government that after announcing relief to the cotton growers who suffered badly due to whitefly attack and the use of spurious seeds last year that the Chief Minister directed the revenue department to cover other crops like guar and vegetables too on a similar pattern as was being done in the case of damaged cotton crop. Badal had directed that after disposing of the objections raised by farmers, the revenue officials would release the compensation amount to the affected farmers as per the assessment. Clear instructions were given that the payment of compensation should be made directly to the cultivators in case the land was given on contract farming to the cultivators so as to mitigate hardships caused to them.

Relief to farmers for damage to crops

Last year as the government faced almost 60% loss to cotton crop in the Malwa region and in a bid to compensate the loss the state government cleared a compensation to the tune of Rs 600-crore to the affected farmers. The government first ordered a special girdawri and it came out that 6.75 lakh acres of land was affected in a whitefly attack. Out of this Cotton alone was sown on 11.25 lakh acres in the Malwa region. Farmers have ploughed back crop on 11,800 acres because of the pest attack.

Soon after the loss, the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also ordered to give immediate compensation of Rs 10 crore to cotton growers whose crop was extensively damaged by whitefly attack.

The compensation was announced to those growers who have uprooted their crop because of the pest attack. Badal made the announcement in the wake of extensive damage to the crops. Out of 11,780 acres area ploughed back by the farmers, 5,000 acres fell in Muktsar, 3,727 acres in Fazilka, 2,090 acres in Bathinda, 539 acres in Mansa, 398 acres in Faridkot and 26 acres in Barnala districts. Badal had also assured farmers that the state government had already taken a decision to bail out farmers who had ploughed back their fields due to whitefly attack.

Other farmers who suffered loss not left behind

Besides taking serious view of sale of spurious pesticides and insecticides, Badal also issued directions to take strict action against those found involved in such illegal activities. It was part of this swoop down against such miscreants that the police officials had taken more than 200 samples of such substandard pesticides from the dealers in the Malwa belt and taken action subsequently. “Such dealers who had created havoc with the cotton and other crops nurtured with their blood, sweat and tears would be dealt with severely,” Badal has said.

Agriculture and Power departments were also asked to issue requisite notifications to initiate procedure for the release of new tube well connections to the farmers which would fulfil their need of irrigation and water requirement.

Dalits and poor coming to forefront thanks to welfare schemes of Badal govt

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Punjab Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been leading in providing benefits to poorest of poor in the state by launching several pro-poor and pro-Dalit schemes in the state.  Recent array of schemes which were announced during the budget of state government in March early this year bear testimony to the fact that the SAD-BJP government is committed to the cause of Dalits and other poor sections in the state.

The announcement of allocation of Rs 100 crore corpus as SC scholarship fund to be given to the universities and institutes on behalf of the SC students and doling out of interest-free study loan of upto Rs 5 lakh for the youth from economically weaker section were some of the new initiatives which will go a long way in benefiting the poor sections in all over the state. Akali Chief Parliamentary Secretary and SC leader Pawan Tinu, says this announcement meant that the Punjab government would now be able to disburse funds to the colleges from the corpus till the time centre releases its grants. After the funds reach colleges, this amount would be withdrawn. According to him, till now the state contribution for Centre’s Post Matric Scholarship Scheme stood at Rs 68 crore for six years even as the number of beneficiaries under the scheme had risen from 35,000 to 3.75 lakh. He mentions that the starting of interest-free loan scheme for poor students would also help aspiring students with limited means and resources in a major way to pursue their dreams.

Biggest every employment scheme

In fact it was during the Parkash Singh Badal led government that Punjab witnessed the launch of the biggest ever employment drive in history and more than 1.14 lakh government jobs are being offered to youth in the state. Besides, Punjab has become the  the first state to launch Atta Dal Scheme, making eldest women of the family as head and by far helping 1.42 crore beneficiaries.

Health schemes

A Health Insurance Card has also been issued to every poor, while Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Beema Yojana offering free treatment up to Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh compensation for accidental death for incapacitation of head of family is also being given. Already more than  28.05 lakh people have benefitted from the initiative.

Apart from this, Rs 50,000 insurance cover for families of construction workers, regular medical examination of construction workers/families on construction sites toilets for labourers at construction sites and their colonies and is being ensured by the government. It has also been provisioned that the teams of medical experts would visit construction sites with Mobile Van fitted with X-ray machine and medical lab to diagnose diseases.

Special focus on girls

Focussing on the welfare of girls from the poor sections, Shagun scheme has been launched for the girls from SC/BC,Christians and economically weaker sections. The government has also introduced Bebe Nanaki Ladli Beti Kalyan Scheme to provide financial assistance to poor families to bring up girl child and to curb the menace of female foeticide. Free Punjabi Stenography training is provided to SC candidates. Punjab provides free power to farmers and spends approximately Rs 6,000 per year for it.

“We believe in ‘Sarbat da Bhala’ and have launched schemes for every section of Punjab. Various pro-poor welfare programmes – insurance cover, free medical treatment to blue card holders, 200 units of free power, Atta-Dal scheme for BPL card holders besides 5 marla plots for free housing are being implemented by Punjab Government, which are going to help Dalits and poor all over the state.

At present total Dalit population in Punjab 32%. Of the total cultivable land of 168910 acres, land reserved for Dalits about 56303 acres which is about 33%  of the total land.

Punjab government turns new leaf for welfare of Muslims

Punjab government has taken a slew of measures for the welfare of the minority community of Muslims in the state. Apart from issuing instructions for ensuring that the rights and safety of minority community are taken care of well, the Parkash Singh Badal government has ensured that the education institutes and the burial places which are directly linked with the minority communities are looked after and get due attention.

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More place for burial and better education institutes

With this objective in mind, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal last year sanctioned Rs 70 lakh for the upgradation of burial places and madrassas all over the state. The initiative was one of the several measures which the government has been taking from time to time for Muslims in the state. In fact Chief Minister Badal has been regularly meeting with the
representatives of minority communities to keep abreast of the issues and problems concerning minorities in the state. Apart from this the Chief Minister has also been keen on initiatives for setting up a modern school for the children of minorities wherein they could be imparted quality education. He has already issued instructions for grant of financial assistance and for giving land for setting up the modern institution.

The government is also drawing on the modalities for providing more land for burial places in villages and towns through panchayats and municipal committees. This is being done in accordance with the requirement mentioned in a policy framed by the department of rural development and local government. “The SAD-BJP alliance is committed to ensure welfare and development of all the communities belonging to different castes and religions as our great gurus, saints, seers, and prophets have disseminated the message of universal brotherhood, amity, and religious tolerance,” Badal had told a delegation of minorites while assuring them that all possible help and cooperation would be extended for the welfare and prosperity of Muslims in the state.

In fact his government is now taking more steps to bridge the communication gap between the state administration and the different communities in a bid to ensure effective and prompt redressal of their grievances.

Badal’s insistence prompts Centre too

The state government’s insistence to the centre for helping minorities has also led to a strong backing by the union government which has now proposed new skill development and awareness schemes for Muslims in the state.

The ministry of minority affairs recently declared to introduce new schemes in district Bathinda with an aim to develop skills and increase job opportunities for minorities in the state. The district, has a significant presence of Muslim population.

Seekho or Kamao

Seekho aur kamao (Learn and earn) is a skill development initiativefor minorities that is being introduced in district Bathinda. Besides there are also plans to introduce other schemes for preserving the heritage of traditional arts/crafts of minorities and builds capacity among traditional artisans and craftsmen.  “We have planned a module which aims at providing skill training to school drop-outs in the villages around Bathinda. The objective of module is to make youngsters well versed with the use of computers and the new farming techniques. The objective is also to ensure that they are made aware about the correct prices of seeds and tools available in the market,” said Union minister of minority affairs Najma Heptulla.

Kisan Helplines: Bridging Gap between Farmers & Govt.

With an aim of providing the farmers the best of facilities available in the state, the government of the state decided to start a ‘Kisan Helpline’. Under the guidance of the Punjab agriculture university and the department of agriculture in state it has been decided to revive the ‘farmer’s service centres’.

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Punjab is an agriculture state and to protect its farmers the step to start a ‘kisan helpline’ is beyond doubt a great one. The agriculture product of the state has been diminishing overall, in such a scenario providing expert help to the farmers from the Punjab agriculture university and the agriculture department gives the farmers a little edge.

Staff that is prepared to help the farmers on any issue be it related to sowing, harvesting and preserving the product will be readily available in these service centres. Punjab state chief minister also declared that these service centres would run awareness programmes to make the farmers aware about the various threats that prevail over their crop and also suggest solutions. Keeping the crop away from any disease will lead to successful product by the farmers.

The agriculture picture of the state and nation is on a dip with farmers giving up their lives due to problems of crop production or low value in the market. In such a case the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP led government in the state of Punjab has stepped up to help its farmers. Department of agriculture with the Punjab Agriculture University and even krishi vigyan kendras will join hands this year to help the farmers in their tough times. Setting up ‘kisan helplines’ will maintain the interest of the farmers and attract the youth to the agrarian community.

Earlier this year the state Agriculture Department had set up a call centre to help the farmers protect their crop from the ‘yellow rust’ that destroys the wheat crop. Any farmers who wanted to know more about the infectious disease that eats up the crop could call the helpline from 6 AM to 10PM. Scientists and farm researchers were to be made available to assist the farmers on what they should do to get rid of the yellow rust.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while informing the farmers of the state about the service centres, even asked the people handling the helplines that the work done should be on the ‘grass root level’ which would help the scientists analyse the actual problem faced by the farmers.

Organisations like IFFCO Kisan are handling the services for the state government, in order to help the farmers of the state. A helpline number has been set up which according to website of IFFCO KISAN is dedicated towards giving high quality information to the farmers of the rural areas.

The subscribers of the Green sim card given by the IFFCO Kisan can call a sic digit number 534351 to avail the services. Expert opinion is given on the matter and dedicated help is provided.

Punjab prepares to tackle floods with a anti flood projects

Punjab government has developed a comprehensive plan for controlling floods in the state. In a bid to make maximum use of surface water resources and minimize the loss to life and property due to floods and water logging the government has identified projects worth Rs 3469 crore and submitted a detailed estimate to the union government for approval.

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The major projects which are now under consideration of Ministry of Water Resources and Central Water Commission are Relining of Rajasthan/Sirhind Canal worth Rs. 1260 crore, Major Canal Rehabilitation Project-Rs. 552 crore, Flood Protection Works on River Ghaggar and 27 Other Flood Protection Works worth about Rs. 330 crore. These projects are important for Punjab which has a network of 14500 km long canals in the state and being one of the oldest networks in country has already outlived its life.

On its part the Punjab government has so far sanctioned projects of about Rs 377.43 crore for carrying out works concerning flood management. The Chief Minister has also approved Rs. 132 crore for flood protection works and cleaning of drains in all 22 districts across Punjab and has asked the Deputy Commissioners. Out of Rs.132 crore, an amount of Rs. 100 crore was to be released from the state funds and Rs.32 crore to be taken from already approved Rs. 960 crore by the Union government to tackle water logging in the vulnerable areas of south-west Punjab.

A sum to the tune of Rs. 23 crore has already been spent for flood control at Satluj, Ravi, Beas and Ghaggar rivers since 2013. This amount has been used for maintenance and renewal of Rajbahas and Minors falling in concerned areas through maintenance societies formed on canal division level. Apart from construction, widening of dams on Ghaggar, canalization of sakki nulla, and closing and cementing gaps in rivers, the work for flood stoppage has been taken up on a war footing. Besides developing an effective mechanism for flood control, this has resulted in improving irrigation facilities in the area giving a major benefit to farmers and those living in the surrounding areas.

New projects under way

The Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has also given a go head for the upgradation of gate and gearing of head works and other regulators of canals which were in dilapidated condition for long. The work for up-gradation of gate and gearing of head works and regulators of canals particularly  at Ropar, Madhopur and Harike has been taken up in a major way. Following directions of Chief Minister, the state Irrigation department has prepared a detailed proposal worth Rs 85 crore for which NABARD has been approached. With an objective to give boost to the projects for controlling floods, the chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sought early approval of different irrigation projects worth Rs 2943 which are pending with the union government.  In his request to the Union Minister for Water Resources (MoWR) Uma Bharti, the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has requested for the re-lining of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeders at a cost of Rs. 2125.69 crore besides Swan River Flood Management worth Rs. 284.98 crore. Badal has also sought release of funds of Rs. 161.04 crore for flood protection project under river management activities and water related to border areas. He also sought clearance of the project for the channelization of river Ghaggar by the Ghaggar Standing Committee involving a cost of Rs. 135.63 crore and release of funds to the tune of Rs. 46.12 crore for flood protection works along River Beas under Flood Management Project. Badal has also been insisting up on centre for approval to the project for channelization of Sakki/Kiran Nallah. With an estimated cost of about Rs. 190 crore, the project once executed would help saving the life and property of the people residing in border areas from the floods.