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Akali Dal to contest Haryana gurdwara management polls


Chandigarh, Aug 26 (IANS) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Saturday announced the party would contest the Haryana gurdwara management elections and appealed to the Sikh ‘sangat’ to free the gurdwaras from the clutches of the modern day ‘mahants’ who had taken over their control with the connivance of the Congress and the BJP.

Addressing the media here, the SAD President said the party would contest the elections on its symbol. “Our focus is on giving Sikhs in Haryana the right to have their own gurdwara committee, besides freeing them from the present committee that is indulging in free for all fights and abuses in official meetings which is against all principles and norms.”

He also appealed to the Sikhs in Haryana to enroll themselves as voters in large numbers so as to restore the pride of the ‘panth’ in their state in the forthcoming gurdwara polls.

Badal, who was briefing the media after the party’s core committee, said “the SAD is of the firm belief that the recent floods in Punjab are a man-made tragedy and that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann is responsible for it”.

He said the Chief Minister failed to take any flood control prevention meeting before the onset of the monsoons. “He also failed to regulate the release of floodwaters from the Bhakra and Pong dams and later when large parts of Punjab were inundated he fled to Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to participate in election programmes of the AAP along with his boss Arvind Kejriwal. This resulted in a loss of Rs 10,000 crore with paddy crop being destroyed in seven lakh acres of land.”

Badal also demanded a fair compensation for flood-hit farmers and labourers asserting the Rs 186 crore compensation released by the government was akin to sprinkling salt on the wounds of the farming community.

He said the AAP had promised to give interim relief for crop damage before the conduct of ‘girdwari’ but had failed to do so for three failed crops already.

“Following flooding in Punjab, the Chief Minister promised to release compensation till August 15 but indulged in a publicity gimmick by distributing a few cheques which had Rs 40,000 printed on their envelopes but were actually for Rs 4,000 only.”

He said the core committee had resolved to demand a compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre for farmers whose crop was destroyed, Rs 10 lakh for house damage, Rs 25 lakh compensation to those who lost their lives, Rs 20,000 to all farm labourers, Rs one lakh for loss of each milch animal and Rs 50,000 for loss of each goat.

Besides these, all those whose tubewells had been clogged should be awarded Rs 2 lakh each.

“Compensation should be given to those who have leased land on rent as well as to those who were cultivating government land along rivers and riverine tracts.”

He said since farmers had plugged all 60 breaches which occurred in rivers and rivulets in the state, the farmers responsible for this voluntarily act should be compensated for the cost incurred by way of machinery, diesel and sand bags.

“Farmers should also be allowed to collect and dispose of silt which has accumulated in their fields,” he added.


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