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Congress for direct payment of relief to farmers

Posted on Aug 05, 10:40PM | UNI

Reiterating its demand for the Central assistance to the drought-hit farmers of Punjab, the Congress today said the relief must be provided directly to the farmers.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Punjab Congress MPs said the poor monsoons in the state had led to farmers' incurring lot of additional costs on irrigating their paddy fields.

This had necessitated the need for special relief to them, they added.

Giving details here, Congress spokesperson and Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari said there should not be any cap on the aid, but it must be directly disbursed among the farmers by the Food Corporation of India at the time of procurement but not as a bonus.

"If Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is asking for Rs 2380 crore we are saying pay more than that, but pay it directly to the farmers," he addedd.

Mr Tewari pointed out that the past experiences had shown that whenever the Centre provided aid to the Akali-BJP government in the state for relief to the drought hit farmers, the state government did not pay any money to the affected farmers but diverted it for other things.

Citing 2009 example, he said that the central government provided Rs 800 crores as aid to the Punjab government for disbursing the same to the affected farmers. Instead of giving it to the farmers, the state government claimed that it was not for them but for the electricity subsidy.