Punjab CM meets PM Modi to press for compensation for stubble burning
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press for compensation to farmers in lieu of stubble burning, while also urging his intervention to ensure settlement of the Rs. 31000 crore CCL gap and assistance for the preparation of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji.
The Prime Minister was sympathetic to the problem of the farmers, said the Chief Minister, who has been pressing for Rs. 100 per quintal as compensation for the farmers to check the problem of stubble burning. Captain 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 Chief Minister also took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for the central government’s decision not to disturb the 60:40 ratio with respect to appointment of officers in the UT of Chandigarh. It may be recalled that Captain Amarinder Singh had, in recent weeks, expressed his strong protest over the constant efforts being made to disturb the fine balance in sharing of officers and other resources between Haryana and Punjab that had been achieved over a period of time after a great deal of effort.
Giving details of the meeting, an official spokesperson of the Punjab government later said the Chief Minister had urged Modi to advise the Finance Ministry to urgently settle the Rs. 31000 crore CCL gap on the principle of shared responsibilities.
Reiterating his demand for resettlement of gap in Food Cash Credit Account of Punjab, which had resulted from systemic and structural reasons, the Chief Minister told Modi that this should be settled on the principle of shared responsibilities amongst the stakeholders in procurement of foodgrains for the country, he said. In fact, he pointed out, the matter had been discussed in detail in internal report of the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution, referred as the PK Jha Committee Report.
Noting that the Ministry of Finance, GoI, which was looking into the matter on a reference received from the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution, was yet to finalise the matter, Captain Amarinder Singh sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to resolve the issue. He urged the Prime Minister to advise the Ministry of Finance to reconsider and review conversion of Rs. 31,000 crore as long term loan as it cannot be solely attributed to the State of Punjab given the principle of shared responsibilities.
Citing similar commemorative events held in the past, when generous assistance packages were given by GoI to the state government, the Chief Minister reminded Modi of his assurance that the Centre would provide due assistance to the Punjab government to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji next year in a befitting manner. He urged the Prime Minister to issue suitable directions to the Ministry of Culture and the National Implementation Committee, instituted in June this year, to provide the necessary support to the state to make suitable arrangements for the event.
Earlier, in a letter to the Prime Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh also sought Rs. 800 crores in compensation for the losses incurred by the state due to the recent flooding resulting from exceptionally heavy rainfall, the spokesperson disclosed.
The Chief Minister, in the letter, had informed Modi that the heavy rainfall in Punjab and adjoining Himachal Pradesh, from 22nd to 24th September, had caused extensive damage to life, agricultural crops, property and other infrastructure at different places in the State.
The estimated damage to crops was Rs.150 crore, while road network had been damaged to the extent of Rs. 119.32 crore, with another Rs. 516.51 crore caused to flood protection infrastructure and minor irrigation works, said the Chief Minister.
Further, there was damage to the tune of Rs. 5.11 crore to human population livestock and private residences, he noted, seeking compensation from the Government of India to enable the state to tide over this natural calamity.