Opposition Congress on Thursday demanded convening of an emergency session of Punjab Assembly to discuss farmers suicide, a day after a debt-stressed farmer allegedly committed suicide in Fatehgarh Sahib district.
"We urge chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to convene an emergency session of the Assembly to discuss the issue of farmers suicides," Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said in Chandigarh.
Khaira said besides the issue of farmers suicide, the Assembly should be convened to introduce regulation of rural
credit system, reduce interest rates of state-owned banks and set up district wise Debt Determination and Settlement Board.
The 60-year-old debt-stressed farmer Surjit Singh, who had recently met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and told him about agrarian problems, on Wednesday allegedly committed suicide by consuming poisonous substance, with the peasant's family claiming that his debt was mounting and he was unable to pay back the loan from bank and others.
Khaira alleged that the "so called pro farmer government is unable to control the spate of debt-ridden farmers suicides in the state".
"The suicide committed by farmer Surjit Singh has once again brought to fore the monster of a crumbling agrarian
economy of Punjab. As per NABARD report, the farmers of the state are facing a colossal debt of over Rs 51,000 crore, both institutional and of the arthias or commission agents," Khaira said in a release here.
He further said, "We are aware, that the wheat crop was damaged due to inclement weather and the Agriculture
department has assessed a loss of Rs 2,175 crore to the farmers of Punjab, on account of 13 per cent lesser yield of
the wheat crop this season.
"But in complete contrast to this, the Badal government has chosen to award only Rs 78.51 crore as compensation, as
per the Kharaba (crop damage) report submitted by the Revenue Department. This meagre compensation is not only a cruel joke with the farmers but is also like rubbing salt on their wounds," he said.