Badal government has failed to lift paddy: Amarinder

Chandigarh, Nov 5 (IANS) Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh Friday blamed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s government in the state for the suffering of farmers whose paddy stocks were not being bought by procurement agencies in time.

Amarinder made an unscheduled visit to the Khanna grain market — the biggest grain market in Asia, 75 km from here Thursday. He said the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government in the state was trying to blame the central government for not relaxing paddy’s quality specifications for procuring.

‘Now when the government of India has already relaxed the specifications, there is no reason for the government not to lift paddy from the market,’ he said.

Amarinder Singh said that during the tenure of his government between 2002-07, farmers never had to wait in grain markets as their produce was lifted immediately and payments were made within 24 hours.

He regretted that the state government has not bothered to address the problems of the farmers regarding various specifications.

The former chief minister said he would highlight the failures of the Badal government during a political campaign to be launched across Punjab after he pays obeisance at the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines, in Amritsar Nov 9.

Amarinder Singh squarely blamed Badal for ‘criminal negligence’ in not foreseeing the moisture related problem of paddy faced by farmers and not taking it up in time with the central government. Had that been done earlier, the farmers would not have been required to spend their Diwali in the grain markets, Singh added.

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