Punjab CPI demands release of white paper on flood relief fund

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Chandigarh, Aug 27 (UNI) The Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India today urged the state government to release a white paper on the utilisation of flood relief fund, worth Rs 1646 crore, and on the actual causes of floods in the state.

A deputation of the State Council of the CPI, which met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here, expressed deep concern over the devastation caused by the floods, resulting into the loss of many human lives and damage to crops and machinery, worth Rs nearly 1000 crores.

The deputation, which comprised among others Dr Joginder Dayal, National Executive Member, and Comrades Hardev Arshi and Jagroop Singh, both members of National Council of CPI, also raised other burning problems of the state like increase in criminal activities, repressive measures by police on peaceful workers, employees and peasants, "collapse of education system" particularly in rural area, increasing activities of communal forces.

The deputation also showed their deep concern and opposition to the privatisation of Punjab State Electricity Board.

The CPI demanded that a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the kith and kin of those who lost their lives in the floods, Rs 15,000 per acre to the peasants whose paddy crop was fully damaged, Rs 25,000 each for damage to 'Kachha' houses, Rs 50,000 each for damage to concrete houses and adequate compensation for the damage of agriculture machinery.

The Communist leaders expressed their strong rementment over the callous and apathetic attitude of the administration over the misery and losses which the flood affected victims faced.

They said that it was an irony of situation that the Flood Control Board had not been constituted by successive government and this time the Irrigation Department had not taken any steps to face the situation.

The Communist leaders said that the Rural Education System had totally collapsed to such an extent that only three percent of students from rural background reached universities. "We are now on number seventeenth in the country in literacy and even Himachal Pradesh is far ahead than us", they said.

The CPI leaders said that every day repression was increasing on all sections of masses who are struggling for their genuine demands, adding that lathies and bullet had taken the place of negotiation.

The Chief Minister gave a patient hearing to the deputationists and agreed that the genuine issues of workers should be solved through negotiations.

UNI VKJ MMS2923

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