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Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked the agriculture department to provide seeds for alternative crops free of cost to farmers whose crop had been destroyed in the recent floods, as rising water of the Ghaggar river entered five more villages of Sardulgarh sub-division in district Mansa.
With the rising water, 39 villages of Mansa became vulnerable and the district administration was keeping a vigil on the situation.
Reviewing the flood situation and relief operations in a high-level meeting, Badal said, besides arranging sufficient quantity of early maturing varieties of paddy saplings, the agriculture department should also provide seeds for crops like moong, maize and toria to farmers, so that they do not have to spend money in re-sowing. He said the government had already waived water cess and power charges for tubewell motors, besides deferring the payment of cooperative crop loans.
It was informed in the meeting that a total of 294,397 acres of farm land has submerged and the largest area, of 139,075 acres, has been in Patiala district. About Rs 5 crore had already been earmarked for providing free seeds to the flood-affected farmers. Badal asked the agriculture department to identify the land affected by sediment due to flood and de-silt such land at the earliest besides providing relief to the affected farmers.
Chief Secretary S C Agrawal said in the meeting that Rs 51 crore had already been disbursed to affected districts and the departments concerned. An additional Rs 20 crore was being sent to the affected districts in the next 24 hours. He added that besides the 2,800 km of road damage, the loss to public infrastructure was estimated at Rs 200 crore.
He also said that seven cattle and seven vaccination camps were working 24 hours to vaccinate domestic animals.