Rahul prom­ises farm loan waiver

4,000 acres ac­quired in Bas­tar by the Tatas for steel plant will be re­turned to peo­ple, says Cong. chief

The Hindu - - NEWS - Su­vo­jit Bagchi

If the Congress comes to power in Ch­hat­tis­garh, the party will waive farm­ers’ loans and re­lease the bonus pend­ing for their pro­duce for the past two years, party pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi said here on Satur­day.

He ad­dressed three meet­ings in the State on the last day of cam­paign for the first phase of polling on November 12.

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) an­nounced many schemes and plans for farm­ers in the State, where nearly 80% of the pop­u­la­tion lives in ru­ral ar­eas.

‘Within 10 days’

Mr. Gandhi said that within 10 days of com­ing to power, the party would waive loans and ap­prove the bonus. The Congress has high­lighted the prom­ises in its man­i­festo.

Mr. Gandhi promised to re­turn over 4,000 acres of land ac­quired in Bas­tar by the Tatas to set up a steel plant.

“There is a pro­vi­sion in the Land Acquisition Act that if a project that has ac­quired land could not be ini­ti­ated within five years of ac­quir­ing the land, then it [the land] should be re­turned. We will re­turn the land ac­quired by the Tatas to the farm­ers and trib­als,” Mr. Gandhi said in Bas­tar. The Tata Group ac­quired land in Bas­tar in 2005, but aban­doned the project fol­low­ing left-wing in­sur­gency.

‘Agri­cul­tural hub’

Mr. Gandhi promised to set up food pro­cess­ing units to turn the State into an agri­cul­tural hub. Farm­ers would sell their pro­duce to agro­cen­tres to get proper prices, the Congress pres­i­dent said.

Tar­get­ing Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Ch­hat­tis­garh Chief Min­is­ter Ra­man Singh, Mr. Gandhi said that while Mr. Modi was en­gaged in pro­mot­ing his friends “Anil Me­hul or Ni­rav the name of Mr. Singh’s son fea­tured in the Panama Pa­pers.

“Nawaz Sharif in Pak­istan was jailed for hav­ing his name in the Panama Pa­pers.

bhai, bhai”, bhai

The name of the Chief Min­is­ter’s son fea­tured in the same pa­pers but no one said a word — nei­ther the Chief Min­is­ter … nor the

[gate­keeper],” Mr. Gandhi said in a ref­er­ence to the Prime Min­is­ter.

chowki­dar ‘PM favour­ing the rich’

In a sep­a­rate rally at Charama in Bas­tar divi­sion, Mr. Gandhi al­leged, “In the past four or five years, Modi gave ₹3.5 lakh crore to the 15 rich­est peo­ple. While an amount of ₹35,000 crore was needed yearly to run the MGNREGA [Ma­hatma Gandhi Na­tional Ru­ral Em­ploy­ment Guar­an­tee Act] scheme in the coun­try, he waived loans worth 10 times that amount of 15 se­lect in­dus­tri­al­ists.”

ji (With PTI in­puts)


Reach­ing out: Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi on a road­show in Ra­j­nandgaon, Ch­hat­tis­garh, on Fri­day.

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