Dozens of residents of Khushpur village and Chak 52 GB Samundri on Monday staged a protest demonstration over government’s failure to compensate farmers of these villages for their losses in monsoon floods of 2010.
The protest was organised by the Flood Victims Action Committee of Samundri.
The protesters had gathered in front of the Faisalabad Press Club, where they staged a sit-in for over an hour. They were carrying placards and banners highlighting their demand for compensation. The protesters said if the government continued to ignore their grievances and failed to take action in the matter, separate groups will be sent to Islamabad and Lahore to set up protest camps in front of the Presidency and the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Rana Waqar Ahmed Khan, Gamaliel Dogra, Rana Khalid Khan, Rana Saifullah and Rana Hanif Khan said a federal government delegation led by then Textile Minister Rana Farooq, had visited the villages after the flood. “It had promised us to declare Samundari a calamity-hit area and issue Watan Cards to affected farmers,” they said.
They said that none of the promises had been honoured. “The delegation had assured us that the government will also pay for seeds and fertiliser for the next crop.
Three seasons have since passed but we have not heard from the government,” they said.
The protesters said most of them had had to incur heavy debts to continue farming after the floods. The protesters said Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had also promised to take up their case in the Punjab Assembly. “He received an application from us and promised to hand it over to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif,” they added.
DDO (Revenue) Tanveer Murtaza told The Tribune that his job was to recommend names of affected farmers of these villages to the district administration, which, he said, had been done.
He said the matter was now pending with the Finance Department. “It has to release funds. The district administration has completed its task,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2012.