Went beyond means to help farmers: CM
Mansa: Launching the farm debt waiver scheme at a state-level function here today, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today said it was just the beginning and no eligible farmer would be left out of the scheme. He said the government had started implementing the scheme from five districts today. Addressing a gathering of farmers from Mansa and nearby districts, Amarinder said his government had fulfilled another major promise with this launch, as he symbolically handed over waiver certificates to 10 farmers from the five districts of Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar and Moga. Acknowledging that some farmers might have got left out due to technical errors, he said these issues were being resolved and those who still ended up with complaints should approach their respective SDMs or DCs, whom he had directed to resolve such issues at the earliest. The CM questioned the Akali Dal, AAP and some farmer unions over a “false propaganda campaign”, as to how they expected his government to give out more than it could afford to. He referred to yesterday’s reported suicide of a Barnala farmer to point to the extent of “shameless propaganda”, which the Opposition parties and some unions had unleashed. He denied any such suicide on account of non-inclusion of the farmer’s name in the waiver list. The farmer’s name was included in the list from Barnala, he said, adding that it was a “fraudulent campaign”. The CM cited figures to point out that not only had his government announced higher loan waiver than other states, including the ones ruled by the BJP, but had, in fact, done so despite the huge financial constraints faced by it. Nearly 47,000 farmers who had taken loans from 701 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies of five districts were getting their money in their bank accounts, he said, describing the launch as a beginning towards solving the problems that were forcing the farmers to commit suicide. A total of 5.63 lakh farmers will benefit in the first phase, which will provide relief to the tune of Rs 2,700 crore. Asserting that their priority is to extend a helping hand to small farmers, Amarinder said 10.25 lakh farmers are being covered under the scheme while adding that bigger farmers like him and Parkash Singh Badal could manage their affairs on their own. He said the entire loan waiver process would be completed in four phases. He promised to generate job avenues for the unemployed in rural areas while also stating that farm labourers too would be taken care of once the state’s fiscal condition stabilises. Describing the CM as a “man of his word”, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar said former CM Parkash Singh Badal was resorting to dirty politics over the issue. Badal had earlier tried to mislead the people saying Amarinder would not fulfill this particular promise and was now trying to cover up his embarrassment by saying Rs 2 lakh was not enough, he said. “What Amarinder has done in 10 months, the Akalis failed to do in 10 years,” he claimed. The Chief Minister also launched a development programme for the repair and upgrading of 16,000 km of link roads at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore. The project would be executed by the Punjab Mandi Board and completed by March 31, 2019. Prominent among those present included Deputy Speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Cabinet Ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Aruna Chaudhary.