Debt waiver to be extended to landless farmers, labourers: CM
₹1,771 crore loans of more than 1 lakh marginal farmers from four districts cleared
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.