Debt waiver to be ex­tended to land­less farm­ers, labour­ers: CM

SEC­OND PHASE ₹1,771 crore loans of more than 1 lakh mar­ginal farm­ers from four dis­tricts cleared

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Punjab - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­[email protected]

PA­TIALA : Pun­jab chief minister Cap­tain Amarinder Singh has an­nounced that the state gov­ern­ment would ex­tend the debt waiver scheme for farm­ers to land­less farm­ers and labour­ers, in a phased man­ner. On Fri­day, the CM was in town to hand over debt re­lief cer­tifi­cates to 25 mar­ginal farm­ers. The gov­ern­ment has pro­vided debt re­lief of ₹1,771 crore to around 1.1 lakh el­i­gi­ble mar­ginal farm­ers in Pa­tiala, Lud­hi­ana, San­grur and Fate­hgarh Sahib dis­tricts.

“The amount is be­ing trans­ferred di­rectly to ac­counts of mar­ginal farm­ers of com­mer­cial banks. The process will be com­pleted by Satur­day,” said the CM. It was here that he an­nounced the ex­ten­sion of the waiver scheme to farm­ers with land­hold­ing be­tween 2.5 acre and 5 acre and to land­less farm­ers and labour­ers.

“Farm­ers with land­hold­ing be­tween 2.5 acre and 5 acre will get debt waiver for both co­op­er­a­tive and com­mer­cial banks. In the third phase, 2.15 lakh small farm­ers of co­op­er­a­tive banks would be cov­ered. In the fourth phase, 50,752 small farm­ers of com­mer­cial banks would be cov­ered,” Amarinder added.

SEEKS EX­PORT OF SU­GAR, POTA­TOES TO CEN­TRAL ASIA

Un­der­lin­ing the need to ex­port su­gar and pota­toes to Cen­tral Asia, the CM added that he had writ­ten to Prime Minister Naren­dra Modi to in­clude these items on the ex­port list, to ben­e­fit farm­ers. “Farm­ers were ed­u­cated on the ju­di­cious use of agro-chem­i­cals on bas­mati, en­sur­ing that the crop has met in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. Con­se­quently, this year, farm­ers have got be­tween ₹3,600 and ₹4,000 per quin­tal, against be­tween ₹2,600 and ₹3,000 per quin­tal, last year.”

He added that the state would also fo­cus on wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ex­perts from Is­rael and Pun­jab Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity.

State health minister Brahm Mo­hin­dra and Mandi Board chair­man Lal Singh claimed that the gov­ern­ment had in­her­ited a debt of around ₹2.08 lakh crore from the pre­vi­ous SAD-BJP regime. “We are soon in­tro­duc­ing cash­less health in­sur­ance for 43 lakh fam­i­lies in the state,” Mo­hin­dra added. Pun­jab Pradesh Congress Com­mit­tee chief Su­nil Jakhar said the state gov­ern­ment had shown the way to other states and the Cen­tre on waiv­ing farm­ers’ debt. For­mer Union minister Pre­neet Kaur and other lead­ers also ad­dressed the gath­er­ing.

₹5,250 CR FOR RU­RAL ROADS, UP­GRADE OF GRAIN MAR­KETS

To strengthen ru­ral roads and to up­grade grain and veg­etable mar­kets, the CM has an­nounced a slew of projects to be com­pleted at a cost of ₹5,250 crore. He added that 16,000-km of ru­ral link roads would be re­paired and widened at a cost of ₹2,000 crore by June 30, 2019. For re­pair of bridges on ru­ral link roads by De­cem­ber 2019, ₹200 crore have been set aside. The Pun­jab Mandi Board would also ex­e­cute a ₹700-crore pro­ject to equip grain man­dis and veg­etable mar­kets with the re­quired fa­cil­i­ties.

Pun­jab CM Capt Amarinder Singh hand­ing over a debt-re­lief cer­tifi­cate to an el­i­gi­ble farmer dur­ing a state-level func­tion at Baran vil­lage in Pa­tiala on Fri­day. BHARAT BHUSHAN/HT

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