Fazilka (Punjab) : Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Friday said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab was not only discriminating against farmers by refusing to release compensation for losses suffered in the floods, but was also suppressing social activists and whistleblowers to hide the loot of the state exchequer at the instance of AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal.
Accusing Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of betraying the farming community by not releasing even the Rs 6,800 per acre compensation sent by the Centre, the SAD leader said at a gathering here that “the AAP government has deliberately delayed release of this compensation by delaying the assessment of the crop damage through the ‘girdawari’ which has not been completed till now”.
He said even as farmers in this district had suffered losses of a few hundred crores after an AAP Member of Parliament forcibly got all 32 gates of the Harike barrage opened, the government had earmarked a compensation of Rs 8.5 crore for the district.
“This is a cruel joke on our hard working farmers who were promised compensation for even loss of their hens and goats but have been left high and dry now,” he said.
Badal also condemned the manner in which social activists were being threatened if they exposed the misdeeds of the AAP government.
Citing the example of activist Manik Goyal, he said the activist had received an open threat from the Punjab Police to delete a tweet giving information regarding a bid invited by the government to hire a 10-seater jet for six months.
“It is clear that the jet plane is being hired to facilitate the campaign of AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal in the forthcoming Assembly elections in several states at the cost of the Punjab exchequer,” he said.
Asserting that such acts of suppression were condemnable, Badal said SAD would oppose the move to hire plane for the air travel of Kejriwal tooth and nail. “This same money can be easily given to farmers to offset the losses suffered by them,” he added.
The SAD President also condemned the manner in which AAP legislators were forcing the state police not to take action against drug smugglers and illegal sand miners.
He said the Tarn Taran district police chief had been shunted out because he had arrested the AAP legislator’s brother-in-law for indulging in illegal mining.
He said similarly AAP legislators were also providing political protection to drug smugglers by taking money from them. “This is why the drug menace has increased multifold during the AAP regime,” he said while also giving the example of police brutality against a lawyer in Muktsar.