SAD warns Punjab govt against withdrawal of free power to farmers

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday warned Punjab CM Amarinder Singh against the withdrawal of free power to farmers, saying the move will face still resistance from his party.

If you take a single step towards discontinuing free power to farmers, you must prepare yourself and your government to face an unprecedented mass movement by the SAD to safeguard interests of the already beleaguered peasantry. We will never allow free power to stop, Badal said.

Sukhbir's comments came after a group of experts formed by the Punjab government to suggest ways to revive the state economy in the post-coronavirus period recommended some tough measures.

The expert group has recommended to defer the payment of salaries to employees and described free power to farmers as highly regressive.

The group of experts, led by former deputy chairman of the erstwhile Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, in its first report said free power has limited the "government's ability to incur other expenditures essential for Punjab's development".

Badal said the SAD rejects this report as "inimical to farmers and accepting its recommendations will amount to signing the death warrant of poor farmers".

He asked the Chief Minister to realise the gravity of the issue and reject the recommendations.

Free power to farmers has been the most progressive contribution of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to the national economy as it has completely secured our food kitty and saved billions of dollars in foreign exchange alone through self-reliance and export in foodgrains," he said.

Badal alleged that CM Amarinder Singh had always been looking for "excuses" to stop free power to farmers.

He had actually withdrawn this facility during his previous tenure as the chief minister before the SAD forced him through a mass movement to resume it, he said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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