Rain shortfall: Punjab seeks Rs 2,380 cr from Centre
Dubbing this year`s monsoon "as one of the worst" in recent history, the Punjab government sought a special package of Rs 2,380 crore from the Centre.
Chandigarh: Dubbing this year`s monsoon "as one of the worst" in recent history, the Punjab government on Thursday sought a special package of Rs 2,380 crore from the Centre to bail out the farming community from the "weather-driven" crisis.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s "immediate" and "effective" intervention for providing relief to the state, an official statement said.
The demand for central package includes Rs 850 crore for extra expenditure incurred by farmers and Rs 1,530 crore for power purchasing at a higher price as well as for diverting energy to farmers, it said.
Stating there has been 65 per cent deficit in monsoon up to July 25 this year, Badal said that "the country at large and Punjab and the North-West region of the country are in the throes of one of the worst droughts since the 1960s."
"Worse, the forecast for the remaining stretch of the monsoon period holds out no hope for the Kharif season. The timing of the rainfall deficit has dealt a crushing blow to the peasantry in Punjab as it hit them at the sowing season." he added.
Badal also raised concern over Punjab getting no special package from the Empowered Group of Ministers on July 31.
"We have been seeking a comprehensive economic package to save the nation`s saviour. Unfortunately, even the financial packages announced for farmers in the country have by-passed the country`s leading agricultural state," he said.
He said farmers of Punjab had sacrificed two of his most precious assets at the altar of the national interest which was land fertility and water.