Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday called the agitation by state farmers as unwarranted and undesirable but said he is ready for talks.
He also asked farmer unions to join the state government’s efforts to check depleting groundwater in Punjab.
Punjab farmers sat on a protest near the Chandigarh-Mohali border on Tuesday after being stopped from heading to the state Capital to press the government for a bonus on wheat crop and allow paddy sowing from June 10.
The government has asked farmers not to go for paddy transplantation till June 18.
The CM said his doors are open for talks with farmers but hollow slogans cannot break his resolve to check further depletion of groundwater.
“They have a democratic right to hold a dharna but they should tell their issues,” said Mann while talking to reporters after returning from Delhi.
Mann said the government held talks with farmers on Tuesday.
When asked why farmers are adamant on meeting him, Mann said, “They can come any time. I have been calling them earlier as well.”
Mann said the staggered programme of paddy sowing will not harm interests of farmers but it can act as a catalyst to save underground water.
“I am the son of a farmer. I know how it can happen. What is the difference between June 18 and 10,” he asked.
The Chief Minister asked farmers to support him for a year and said if the farmers suffer any loss during this period, then the state government will fully compensate them.
“Kindly support me for one year at least. If you suffer losses, I will compensate all your losses,” he asserted.
He asked the agitating farmers to tell whether he was wrong because he is thinking about saving water and checking environmental pollution in the state.
“I want to ask respectable organisations that tell me what wrong I am doing for the earth,” he said.