Punjab Pradesh congress committee president Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday raised the issue of the economic plight of the debt-ridden farmers of Punjab at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Amarinder, who was part of the Congress delegation led by party national vice president Rahul Gandhi, said farmers, burdened with loans, were committing suicide in Punjab and other parts of the country.
Talking to mediapersons after the meeting at Parliament House, Amarinder said the problems of the farmers had compounded due to lackadaisical approach of the NDA government.
Amarinder said the Congress had sought the prime minister’s support to alleviate the debt and other woes of the farmers. The Prime Minister, he said, assured to look into the matter.
Amarinder spoke about Punjab farmersand leaders from Uttar Pradesh spoke about the situation in their state.
Responding to questions from mediapersons, Captain Amarinder said the demonetisation had aggravated the problems of the farmers.
In Punjab, where farmers were totally dependant on cooperative banks for their cash requirements, 7,000 of the 12,700 villages had no bank branches or ATMs, he pointed out, asking the Modi government how the farmers could be expected to survive in such a situation.
Amarinder made it clear that even if the Modi government failed to extend any support, he was committed to waiving off the loans of the farmers in the state. Neither the farmers nor the arhtiyas would have to pay a single penny out of their pockets to settle the outstanding loans, he promised.
The plight of the farmers in Punjab, said Amarinder, had been worsened by the Badal government’s anti-farmer policies. He adds that bungling in procurement, non-payment of dues to farmers, procurement at lower than MSP and delayed harvesting in border areas due to evacuation triggered by BJP-led war hysteria led to the problems of farmers.