Monday, August 8, 2022

Op/Ed: Raja Warring’s negative claim about Khalistan versus reality of Punjab farmers

Depressed due to continuously declining graph of Congress party in Punjab, PPCC president Amrinder Singh aka Raja Warring is now tending to retain political stability by raising Khalistan issue in Sangrur by-poll.

While campaigning for Congress candidate Dalbir Singh Goldy, PPCC president Raja Warring made a controversial remark regarding the formation of Khalistan in his speech. He said if Khalistan comes to existence nobody will buy wheat and paddy crops grown in Punjab and ultimately farmers will have to sell their agricultural land against a minute price of INR 1.5 lakh per acre which is INR 25 lakhs per acre now.

PPCC president Amrinder Singh aka Raja Warring misleading Punjab farmers during Sangrur by-poll

Warring’s remark on this issue is an attempt to mislead the innocent people of Punjab. He indicated in his speech that the current situation of farmers is very strong economically and formation of Khalistan will ruin their lives.

Here, I want to apprise Raja Warring with the reality of Punjab farmers who are helpless to commit suicides after being pushed to an edge economically by the unfavorable Indian policies.

Farmers’ Suicides

As per the report published by three universities PAU (Ludhiana), PU (Patiala) and GNDU (Amritsar) in year 2018, approximately 16,606 farmers committed suicides between 2000 and 2015. According to this report, averagely 1,107 farmers end their lives every year in Punjab.  

On digging out the reasons behind these farmers’ suicides, we come to know that the value of crops fixed by the Indian government has not been keeping pace with the cost of growing these crops.

Due to low valuation of their crops, farmers remain unable to manage their agro and family expenses and ultimately they have to borrow money from banks on high interest rates. As their income remains almost same, they fail in paying back the debts taken from banks.

In this scenario, they are not left with any other option than selling their land for paying back their debts. In this tough situation, most farmers commit suicides because they don’t want to sell their hard earned land.

Blockage of Trade Routes to International Market

Bad relations between India and Pakistan hugely affect agriculture sector of Punjab. If Indo-Pak borders are opened for free trade, farmers from Punjab can sell their crops in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries and earn more income.

But Indian government keeps the Punjab borders closed for trade with an intention to destabilize Punjab’s economic structure while the Indo-Pak trade remains running through Mumbai and Karachi ports.

Dues of sugarcane farmers are withheld for more than three years and when farmers demand release of their dues withheld by the government and private sugar mills, they are booked under false cases and are baton charged.

Several cases of fake fertilizer scam, fake seeds scam, fake pesticides scam have been reported in the past few years due to which crops of Punjab farmers got destroyed and they have been given negligible amounts on the name of compensation. 

Punjab on the edge of becoming a desert  

The long run adverse effects of the Green revolution program brought by the Indian government are becoming distinct these days in Punjab as we have lost most of our ground water while producing crops for India. The continuous cultivation of paddy in Punjab has brought the ground water level to an alarming situation.

Currently, 109 blocks out of total 138 have already been marked as dark zones which mean groundwater usage is more than 100% here.

If the paddy cultivation continues in Punjab, the land of five rivers will soon turn into a desert.

All these tough situations have led to migration of farmers from Punjab. It might look shocking but it’s a fact that thousands of farmers are committing suicides due to the worst situations of agriculture sector in Punjab while hundreds are quitting agriculture and selling their properties so that they could leave India and move to foreign countries. At present, 90% of farmers don’t want to see their children joining agriculture sector.

By highlighting all these above problems related directly or indirectly to agriculture sector, we want to let Mr. Warring know that his remark regarding formation of Khalistan is totally baseless.

The agriculture sector of Punjab is already on the edge of destruction in Indian ruled Punjab and all those political parties who formed governments in centre and state are equally responsible for this disaster.

Warring didn’t only try to mislead the innocent people of Punjab just for his vested political interests but also proved that he is a non serious politician who has nothing to do with problems of farmers in India ruled Punjab.

His focus is just to keep his PPCC presidency safe while gaining political attention by using Khalistan issue as a tool during the Sangrur by-poll.

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