Chandigarh, March 25 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today held chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh directly responsible for the imposition of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme on farmers of Punjab even as it asked him why he was agreeing to implement the scheme even from next year when farmers were opposing the same.
The SAD also asked the centre to reconsider its decision on the DBT scheme saying any unilateral decision on this issue would amount to infringing on the powers of the States and would lead to further weakening of the federal structure of the country.
The SAD stoutly condemned the chief minister for shedding crocodile tears on the issue now, after agreeing in writing to implement the scheme from the forthcoming ‘rabi’ season. “Now when the rabi season is set to arrive next month he is doing a ‘tamasha’ of writing to the Prime Minister”, said SAD Kisan Wing President Sikander Singh Maluka. “What has the chief minister done to safeguard the interests of farmers and arhatiyas since the last one and a half years? Why didn’t he meet the Prime Minister till now? Why didn’t he call an All Party Meeting on this issue? Why didn’t he take the opposition with him in a joint delegation to the Prime Minister to ensure the age-old system of payment to farmers through ‘arhatiyas’ was not disturbed?”
Asking the chief minister not to indulge in skullduggery, Mr. Sikander Maluka said the truth was that the Congress government never opposed the new system to transfer payment for procurement of food grains to farmer accounts directly instead of through ‘arhatiyas’ when it was proposed more than one and a half years back by the central government. “The government asked for one year to implement the scheme. Now the chief minister is making a display of raising the issue before the Prime Minister when the truth is that he meekly surrendered to the central government and agreed to its unjust dictates”.
Questioning the chief minister on why he was again asking for one year to implement the system, Mr. Maluka said “if the chief minister is clear that the system is not in favor of farmers he should tell the Prime Minister point-blank that the Punjab government will not implement it. It is well within the State’s purview to take this decision. Why is the chief minister groveling before the centre instead of standing up to it? Is it because Capt Amarinder Singh is actually playing a fixed match on this issue with the central government?” the Kisan Wing President asked.
Telling the chief minister to wake up from his slumber and act as per the wishes of the farmers of the State, Mr. Maluka said “farmers want the old system which has served them well to continue. They understand the new system will result in a lot of complications which they want to avoid. The government cannot impose any new system on them without their consent. The chief minister must convey all this to the union government immediately and stop making requests to hold off the new system for one year only”, the Kisan Wing President added. EOM