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Badal announces Rs.600 crore relief for pest-hit farmers 

Chandigarh, Sep 28 (IANS) Under fire from various quarters over the pesticide purchase mess which led to loss of hundreds of crores of rupees for the state’s cotton farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday announced compensation of Rs.600 crore to the farmers affected by ‘white fly’ attack.

Addressing a gathering during a political conference at Chapar Mela near Ludhiana, Badal said: “I am aware about the agony faced by the farming community due to whopping loss suffered by them on account of pest attack. I have asked the officers to disburse Rs.600 crore so that farmers could be bailed out during this hour of crisis.”

He said that his government would firmly help farmers affected by the pest attack.

Crop in over 30 percent area of the cotton belt in south-west Punjab has been affected, as per the government’s own estimates.

Farmers are up in arms against the state government for its failure to help them and for providing poor quality pesticides. The opposition had demanded a judicial probe into the pesticide purchase scam.

Badal said that a gigantic operation would be launched by the state government to distribute this relief amongst the affected farmers. “We are firmly behind the hard working and resilient farmers of the state to help them in this hour of crisis,” he added.

“Whenever our farmers had faced any sort of problem, the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government has come to their rescue. During the last more than eight years, the state government has provided free power to farmers worth Rs.28,000 crore. Otherwise, their problems would have accentuated manifold on account of tubewell bills,” he said.

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