Taking a cue from the suicide by debt-ridden Fatehgarh Sahib farmer Surjit Singh, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday demanded that the Narendra Modi government waive the debt of Punjab’s farmers.
In a statement issued in Chandigarh, Bajwa also asked Modi to “concentrate on providing succour to the beleaguered farmers rather than focusing on the anti-farmer land legislation”.
The PPCC president reminded the Prime Minister that his predecessor, Dr Manmohan Singh, had waived Rs 72,000-crore debt and it was high time the present NDA government extended that policy of waiving debt.
Earlier, Bajwa and Fatehgarh Sahib Congress MLA Kuljit Singh Nagra visited Surjit Singh’s family at Dadu Majra village in Fatehgarh Sahib district.
Bajwa said, “It is a sad day for the farming community. The NDA government, instead of resolving farmers’ issues, is busy robbing them of their land by making amendments to the land acquisition bill. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal must explain what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done for Punjab’s farming community and why farmers are committing suicide.”
After attending the cremation, Bajwa said, “Brave farmers of Punjab are taking the extreme step due to the SAD-BJP government’s misrule.” He said Badal should press the PM to announce debt waiver during Modi’s forthcoming visit to Punjab.
Announcing Rs 2-lakh compensation for the farmer’s family, the state Congress chief said the Punjab government should pay Rs 10-lakh relief in this regard.
Meanwhile, Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh expressed shock and grief over the suicide by Surjit Singh. “The situation calls for tackling the agrarian crisis on an emergency basis, lest it be too late,” he warned in a statement issued in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
The former Punjab chief minister regretted that almost every day there were reports of suicides committed by distressed and debt-ridden farmers and neither the state nor central governments appeared to be concerned in any way.
“It is a tragic state of affairs for the farming community as a whole, and death seems to be the only way out,” he observed.