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Punjab government has not compensated cotton farmers affected by pink bollworm infestation: AAP


CHANDIGARH:  AAP leader Raghav Chadha alleged on Friday that Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was indulging in just photo opportunity and that his government has failed to fulfil the promise of compensating the farmers whose cotton crop was destroyed due to pink bollworm infestation.

Cotton crop on more than one lakh hectare land has been destroyed due to the pest attack, Chadha, who is the Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab co-incharge, told a news conference here.

Chadha said that Channi had nearly a month ago met the affected farmers in Bathinda region and promised them that the state government would compensate them for the huge damage caused to the cotton crop due to the pest attack.

The chief minister did not honour his promise to compensate even those farmers with whom he got pictures clicked, which were later used by the government for publicity purposes across the state to give an impression that the present dispensation was farmer-friendly, the AAP leader alleged.

During the conference, Chadha repeatedly referred to Channi as a "dramebaaz chief minister" who only likes the camera glare and the limelight without delivering on ground.

"During his visit, he told farmers at Kartar Singh Wala village that the government will compensate those who suffered crop losses on account of the pest attack, but a month has passed now, no farmer has got compensation," he claimed.

"Dramebaaz CM got himself photographed with a farmer, Balwinder Singh Khalsa. He advertised this photo throughout Punjab, but even Khalsa did not get any compensation." Another hoarding put up across the state on bus shelters, in buses shows a picture of farmer Harpreet Singh his crop was also damaged, but no compensation was paid to him too. Both these farmers, like several others, feel cheated and used," he said.

"Channi believes in lights, camera, but no action," said Chadha. The chief minister is only using photos clicked with affected farmers from Punjab to garner votes.

He said there was nothing new in "false promises" made by the Congress leaders and referred to Channi and his predecessor Amarinder Singh as "Bobbsey Twins".

"When Amarinder Singh was chief minister he ran a campaign saying loans of all farmers will be waived. He too got a picture clicked with farmer Budh Singh of Gurdaspur, who had Rs 2.5 lakh loan, but his loan was not waived," Chadha said.

The AAP demands that the government should not use farmers for photoshoots, but give compensation, he said.

The AAP demands Rs 75,000 per acre compensation to the farmers whose crop was affected by pink bollworm attack, he said.

"Farmers of Punjab are not a commodity that their photos will be exhibited to catch votes," said Chadha, upping the ante against the government ahead of the assembly polls early next year.