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Another pesticide scandal rocks Punjab, Badal orders another inquiry

October 01, 2015 12:05 PM

Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH: Punjab farmers have got another rude shock from the corrupt regime in the state. After a pesticide scandal rocked Malwa belt and resulted in whitefly attack on cotton, yet another pesticide scam in agriculture department has come to light in the Doaba region where
spurious pesticides were purchased for paddy crop.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who defended his agriculture minister Tota Singh in the first pesticide scam worth Rs.37 crores, has now ordered an inquiry into the second scam.

Tota Singh however has been trying to shield the guilty officials of Agriculture department. It was in his knowledge but he didnt inmform the Chief Minsiter who today came to know from newspaper reports, as he (Badal has claimed. The scandal came to light in first week of Augsut but aftrer over one month no action was taken against the acused officials Chief Agriculture Officer Jalandhar and Block Agriculture officer of Phillaur who were only transferred from their posts. No case was registered against them. Tota Singh however said he had ordered an inquiry and awaiting its report.

The department has purchased spurious pesticides from local firms and distributed to farmers. The purchased pesticides were not recommended for paddy by Punjab Agriculture University. The pesticides were manufactured by a Ludhiana based firm. The district agriculture officer of Jalandhar had paid no heed to the complaints of farmers when matter was reported to him in August. The fake pesticides were sold under the brand of a Madhya Pradesh company which denied they had manufactured these pesticides and they not even supply their products to Punjab.

A press release by the office of Chief Minister said that taking cognizance of the news report regarding another pesticide scam in the Phillaur region of Jalandhar district, the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today ordered an enquiry to get at the bottom of the case.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that Mr. Badal has asked the DGP (Vigilance) to conduct an enquiry into the matter and submit its report along with action taken report to him within a month.

Badal reiterated his commitment that the state government would brook zero tolerance in such cases and anyone found guilty in these heinous or immoral acts would be given exemplary punishment as per the law of the land.

Badal had shamelessly defended Agriculture Minister in the Viodhan Sabha on pesticide scandal and declared that whitefly attack was no manmade but a natural calamity. The state government also tried to shift the blame of whitefly attack to farmers. The Vice Chancellor of Punjab
Agriculture University had made a statement that farmers were responsible for damage to their cotton because they didnt follow the guidelines of PAU. His statement had sparked a spate of  anger among farming community.

The farmers in Malwa region are continuing their agitation against the SAD-BJP government for  the alst over two weeks demanding compensation of Rs.40, 000 per acre for the loss of crop.  Punjab Government however has issued cheques of Rs.25 to Rs.150 per acre to farmers which  further enraged the farmers.

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