‘Waiver process on, farm­ers can im­me­di­ately stop re­pay­ing debt’

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - PUNJAB - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­schd@hin­dus­tan­times.com n

As­sur­ing an early no­ti­fi­ca­tion to im­ple­ment the agri­cul­tural debt waiver, Pun­jab chief min­is­ter Cap­tain Amarinder Singh on Thurs­day said the farm­ers whose loans had been waived stood im­me­di­ately ex­empt from re­pay­ment of loans.

The CM, who was ad­dress­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a dozen farm­ers’ or­gan­i­sa­tions, said his gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to pres­sure the Cen­tre for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Swami­nathan Com­mis­sion re­port. “This is high on my agenda,” he told them.

The rep­re­sen­ta­tives were also in­formed that the process of loan waiver would start within two months, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial re­lease.

Amarinder made the write-off an­nounce­ment on June 19. The prom­ise, whose cost has been pegged at Rs 9,500 crore, was among a raft of prom­ises made by the Congress in the run-up to the assem­bly polls.

Sukhdev Singh Khokari of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugra­han), Shin­der Singh Lakhe­wal of BKU Kran­tikari (Shin­der), Datar Singh of Kirti Kisan Union, Rand­heer Singh Azad of Kisan San­garash Com­mit­tee, Harinder Singh Lakhowal of BKU (Lakhowal), Bal­bir Singh Rajewal BKU (Rajewal), Shin­der Singh Lakhe­wal of BKU Kran­tikari (Shin­der), Bhupin­der Singh Mann of BKU (Mann) and Buta Singh of BKU Dakonda were among the farm­ers’ union lead­ers who at­tended the meet­ing.

Amarinder told them that his gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to waiv­ing the loans, even though the state’s debt bur­den had turned out to be much higher than an­tic­i­pated. “The gov­ern­ment will ful­fil each of the 49-point agenda for farm­ers in the poll man­i­festo to make agri­cul­ture prof­itable.”

Re­spond­ing to con­cerns ex­pressed by the farm­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives, he said a cab­i­net sub­com­mit­tee had al­ready been formed to speak to arhtiyas to re­solve the is­sue of non-in­sti­tu­tional loans. Be­sides loan waiver, other is­sues dis­cussed by kisan unions in­cluded fix­a­tion of price of crops on rec­om­men­da­tions of Swami­nathan Com­mis­sion re­port, com­pen­sa­tion of Rs 10 lakh to kin of debt-rid­den farm­ers who com­mit­ted sui­cide and job to one de­pen­dent mem­ber of fam­ily.

There was also sug­ges­tion that the state assem­bly should pass a res­o­lu­tion for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Swami­nathan com­mis­sion re­port and also for declar­ing Pun­jab a spe­cial agri­cul­tural zone. Pun­jab Congress pres­i­dent Su­nil Jakhar urged the state gov­ern­ment to take up the is­sue of ex­clu­sion of agri­cul­ture from GST with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, be­sides sug­gest­ing norms to reg­u­late lend­ing by pri­vate agents and lenders, who charge ar­bi­trary in­ter­est rates.

Cab­i­net min­is­ters Man­preet Singh Badal and Tript Ra­jin­der Singh Ba­jwa, Pun­jab Mandi Board chair­man Lal Singh, me­dia ad­viser to chief min­is­ter Raveen Thukral, chief prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary to chief min­is­ter Suresh Ku­mar and chief sec­re­tary Karan Av­tar Singh were among those who also at­tended the meet­ing.


Chief min­is­ter Capt Amarinder Singh pre­sid­ing over a meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of farm­ers' or­gan­i­sa­tions at Pun­jab Bhawan in Chandigarh on Thurs­day.

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