Punjab

Sukhbir Badal demands CBI inquiry into purchase of machinery for managing paddy straw.

Devinder Singh Kohli | October 19, 2018 05:30 PM
Sukhbir Badal demands CBI inquiry into purchase of machinery for managing paddy straw.

 

 

Chandigarh, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today demanded a CBI inquiry into the purchase of machinery for managing paddy straw, saying this equipment had been purchased at nearly double the market rates negating the 50 per cent to 80 per cent subsidy given for the same by the central government.

In a statement here, the SAD president said a big fraud had been perpetrated in the name of purchasing machinery like rotavators, ploughs and choppers to prevent stubble burning. He said the same machinery was available for less in the open market. “This means government functionaries have teamed up with private players to jack up the machinery rates and then offer subsidy on the same to farmers who want to purchase them. Despite large scale complaints, the government is silent on this issue and is not ordering any inquiry into this colossal fraud”.

Stating that even cooperative societies were being brow beaten into purchasing costly machinery, Mr Badal said the end victim was the farmers who was supposed to be given cheap equipment to manage paddy straw by the central government. He said the village societies in turn were renting out the equipment to farmers at rates ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 800 per hour. “Farmers have to pay this rent as well as spend on diesel and also pay the cost of hiring a tractor on rent because this equipment cannot be used with low horse power tractors”.

Demanding a CBI inquiry into the entire issue, Mr Badal asked why village level committees were not formed to purchase the machinery at genuine cost so that the subsidy given by the centre could be passed on to the end users. He also demanded that the government direct cooperative societies to rent out the equipment at reasonable rate of Rs 100 per hour instead of the exorbitant rentals in force right now.

Mr Badal said there were also reports that many of the machines which the government was claiming to have bought and supplied to societies were still on paper. “In fact most suppliers have told the State government that would supply the machinery by October 30, by when wheat sowing would start”.

The SAD president also asked the Congress government to tell why it was refusing to spend even one paisa from its funds to compensate farmers for loss suffered by them in managing paddy straw. He said it was shameful that at a time when the centre had sanctioned Rs 665 crore for this purpose and Rs 385 crore had been released for this purpose this fiscal the government had nothing to show by way of results. “Distressed farmers who are committing suicide after the Congress government reneged on its Rs 90,000 crore loan waiver promise besides failing to release sugarcane dues of Rs 1,000 crore and even crop damage compensation, are now being told to bear the cost of managing paddy straw. We will not let the Congress get away with this and force it to compensate farmers for the same”, he added.

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