Business desk

The flood relief website of the government of Punjab shows that 23,43,255 acres of standing crops and orchards were affected in 3055 villages of Punjab. Even if the damage was calculated at an average rate of Rs 30,000 per acre it amounts (excluding loss of livestock and houses etc) to Rs70 billion. The compensation planned to be paid to farmers has been assessed at Rs 4000 per acre and that too only for farmers owning 10 acres or less. This discriminatory policy is unfair and unreasonable. All flood affected farmers should be compensated across the board and no discretion should be left to the Patwaris or district administration in the flood effected areas.

The owner of 11 acres and above is also a citizen of this country and contributes comparatively more to the economy with reference to his size of ownership. The farmers are asking whether the benefits of billions spent on other government projects are only limited to a certain poverty level of the population. Are roads, buildings, hospitals, schools, police and administration only for the restricted use of people below a certain level of income or ownership.

When there is no discrimination in other government spending, why should there be discrimination in providing relief to flood affectees even if they own more than 10 or 20 acres of land.

This discriminatory policy of providing a meagre compensation only to those farmers having below 10 acres of land is sheer injustice to other farmers and belies the tall claims made by Punjab CM Mian Shahbaz Sharif and the PM Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Farmers owning land above 10 acres demand immediate intervention for a complete change in this compensation policy. Mere lip service and rhetoric will serve no purpose. The affected farmers direly need compensation which should be made available as early as possible without any discrimination of land ownership.

The compensation should be at least Rs10,000 per acre which is the minimum required for sowing an acre of wheat. FAP demands that the Mian Shahbaz Sharif should put an end to this discriminatory policy of compensation to the flood affected farmers of Punjab by ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of flood compensation to the affected farmers.

(The writer is Director/ Spokesman of Farmers Associates Pakistan)