Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday released documents which showed that farmers in Punjab with less than five acres of land are charged three to four times the regular charges taken from general category farmers.
Accusing the Badal government of being “anti-farmer”, Aam Aadmi Party today released documents which showed that farmers in Punjab with less than five acres of land are charged three to four times the regular charges taken from general category farmers.
Head of the legal wing of AAP, Himmat Singh Shergill and Member of Punjab Dialogue Chander Suta Dogra said, the Akali Dal–BJP government is preying on the helplessness of thousands of poor farmers by forcing them to take expensive connections through the back door.
They alleged that, ahead of the assembly elections, the Powercom is giving more than one fourth of the total connections to be released under the Chairman’s Discretionary Quota on political considerations to Akali Dal cronies and leaders.
“We will release connections to poor farmers at the normal rate of Rs 45,000 being charged for general category farmers, instead of Rs 1,50,000 and 1,70,000 for poor farmers fixed by this government in July this year,” Shergill said.
Appealing to farmers not to fall prey to the tactics of the corrupt Akali Dal-BJP government, Dogra said that when the AAP government takes charge it will restore the normal rates for poor farmers and ensure that no farmer has to pay bribe or backdoor entry charges for what their rightful due is.
“Along with cost of tubewell bore, room and submersible motor etc, a poor farmer with less than 5 acres will be spending Rs 3 to Rs 3.5 lakhs for these tubewell connections. Is it viable? This will push them deeper into a debt trap and result in more suicides,” she said.
Giving details of the “huge charges” being levied on poor farmers, Dogra said the government has made two additional categories for farmers with land less than 2.5 acres with cut off date of March 15, 2016 and for farmers with less than 5 acres with cutoff date 31st March 2007, both of who are being asked to pay Rs 1,50,000.
Under the Chairman’s quota meant for farmers below 5 acres the rate is Rs 1,70000.
Dogra also warned the top brass of the Powercom for playing into the hands of the ruling Akali Dal.
The AAP government will launch a high-level probe and fix responsibility of those officials responsible for allocating more than one fourth – 50,000 – of the total connections to the Chairman’s quota and the politically motivated procedure devised to release them, she said.
She said out of the 1.85 lakh connections approved for release in the last two years, 50,000 are reserved for Chairman’s quota and only 30,000 in the General Category.