Sukhbir gives Tota Singh clean chit
Ludhiana, 7 Oct:
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today gave clean chit to Agriculture Minister Tota Singh. Sukhbir said demanding the minister’s resignation over the pesticide scam was not justified.
He said the state government had already ordered a high-level probe in the matter and the guilty would not be spared. Sukhbir was in Ludhiana to attend the death anniversary of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar’s son Tejinderpal Makkar.
The Deputy CM said the maximum damage in whitefly attack on cotton crop was witnessed in Haryana, followed by Rajasthan and Punjab. “Though the extent of loss in the state was less as compared to other states, Punjab had paid maximum compensation to the farmers,” said Sukhbir.
He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was concerned about the plight of farmers in the state. “He is the first Chief Minister of the country to give maximum benefits to farmers,” he said.
Sukhbir accused the farmer unions, who had given a call for “rail roko” agitation, of playing petty politics and misguiding the masses over this sensitive issue. He said the unions were politicising the issues related to farmers for petty gains.
The spurious pesticide issue has snowballed into a major controversy for the state government. Farmers lost around 60 per cent of their cotton crop in whitefly attack as pesticides supplied to them were reportedly spurious. Cotton farmer unions are now demanding Rs 40,000 per acre compensation. The state government has provided compensation of only Rs 8,000 per acre.