Cotton crop damage: Farmers 'gherao' residence of Punjab FM

By PTI

CHANDIGARH: Farmers demanding compensation for the damage to cotton crop caused by pink bollworm on Thursday broke police barriers and laid siege to the residence of Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in Muktsar district.

Protesting farmers under the banner of Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) have been holding an indefinite protest near Badal’s residence since October 5. They have been demanding a compensation of Rs 60,000 per acre, besides Rs 30,000 per acre for farm labourers for the cotton crop loss.

Farmers on Thursday broke police barriers to ‘gherao’ the residence of Badal after not getting any positive response from the state authorities over their demands, they said.

Heavy police force was deployed near Badal’s residence.

BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said they will continue to sit outside the residence of Badal till their demands are not met.

Pink bollworm pest has caused extensive damage to cotton crop in Malwa areas, especially Bathinda district.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Wednesday had issued directions for completion of the work of special ‘girdawari’ immediately to assess the actual damage to cotton crop by pink bollworm infestation.

Randhawa had directed the Financial Commissioner (Development) to ensure that the affected farmers be compensated before Diwali after completion of the special ‘girdawari’ so that the losses incurred by the farmers of Cotton belt could be compensated.

After the attack of pink bollworm on the cotton crop in the Malwa belt, the affected areas were earlier visited by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Randhawa.

The current situation of the cotton farmers in Punjab is grave due to pink bollworm as most of the farmers have uprooted the crop and are demanding compensation from the government.