Chandigarh, May 19 (PTI) Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Wednesday said the intent of the 40 farmer leaders -- spearheading the stir against Centre's three new farm laws -- is not to resolve the issue, but to serve their own interests.
Chautala was reacting to the recent statement by senior BJP leader and former Union minister Birender Singh that there should be no further delay in finding a solution to the farmers' issue.
He said these leaders have convinced several farmers to protest at various border points, but refrained from coming forward for talks for nearly four months.
“I had earlier also requested the prime minister in writing that a team should be constituted. Centre has also sent messages on many occasions to the 40 (farmer) leaders that they should come forward for talks on the issue,” Chautala said.
“…It has been nearly four months since January 26 (farmers' tractor rally) and those 40 leaders have put thousands (of people) at various borders but are not coming forward for talks. This shows their intent is not to save farming, but to serve their own interests,” he added.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of various farmers’ unions, is spearheading the stir against the Centre's new farm laws. The protesting farmers, who have been camping at various border points of the national capital including Singhu and Tikri, are demanding a rollback of the farm laws.
Hitting out at the Congress, Chautala said they and “other small parties in the state are grinding their political axe through this (farmers') agitation”.
Congress has in the past accused Chautala, whose party Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) is a coalition partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Haryana, of clinging to power and not openly standing with the farmers.
The JJP leader also accused the farmer leaders of spreading falsehoods that mandis will shut down and farmers will be destroyed while he shared the details of the recent crop procurement and said the process was concluded smoothly.
He said an amount of nearly Rs 16,000 crore had been directly credited into farmers' accounts, something on which questions were earlier raised.
“When we took this decision to credit the amount directly into farmers' accounts (Direct Benefit Transfer) for their procured crops, Centre appreciated us in writing and said the Haryana model should be replicated,” he said.
He said those who were opposing direct payment being made to farmers should also take into account that even the Congress government in Punjab has procured 136 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat and the entire payment has been made directly into the accounts of farmers.
“Are these things not an answer to those who used to say mandis will shut down and opposed direct payment into farmers' accounts,” he said.
Giving details of procurement in Haryana, he said of the 85.30 LMT of wheat arrival, 82.10 LMT has been put in warehouses and as committed, 9 per cent interest was given to farmers for delayed payment.
Thus, an additional Rs 77 lakh has been paid to farmers due to delayed payment which took place because of technical glitches or other reasons, he said.
He said sunflower crop procurement will start from June 1 in seven designated mandis.
Meanwhile, with Haryana under lockdown since May 3 to curb the surge in COVID cases, Chautala said the sale of diesel and petrol has reduced by 27 and 30 per cent respectively due to the restrictions.
Replying to another question, he said the excise financial year was to conclude on May 19 but has been extended till the time the state continues to be under lockdown.
With liquor vends closed in the state during the lockdown period, he said proper monitoring of distilleries is being done and their entire record is being maintained.
However, he said as vends are open in neighbouring Punjab and Rajasthan, “we have asked our police to step up strictness on inter-state borders” to ensure there is no smuggling. PTI SUN VSD RHL