After visiting the family of a farmer who committed suicide in Jaga Ram Tirath village in Bathinda, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Charanjeet Singh Channi on Thursday said the `3 lakh compensation was driving farmers to take the extreme step.
“Why cannot we improve the agrarian situation in the state? Rather than giving the compensation after the death of a farmer, financial aid should be provided before the situation worsens to this level. This is only driving them to commit suicide,” Channi said while speaking to Hindustan Times here.
He earlier visited the family of farmer Babu Singh (55) who ended his life after failing to pay a debt of around `20 lakh.
He said he was compiling a record of all the cases of farmer suicide and will raise the issue in the upcoming budget session of the assembly. “I will visit all the families who had to face this tragedy and will demand the state government to waive off their loans,” he added.
Asked whether waiving off the debt of farmers will add to the financial burden on the state government, Channi targeted the central government to bail out the state out of this crisis. “When Manmohan Singh was the PM, he waived off most of the farm debts in Punjab. I strongly appeal that if the state government is facing financial stress, the central government must bail it out by providing financial support,” he said.
Asked if political parties are politicising the issue of farmer suicides, the Chamkaur Sahib MLA said this was not a political issue for him. “I don’t see this as a political issue. Neither are we highlighting it for any political mileage. Once I will finish compiling the details of the suicide cases, I will even propose solution to end this crisis in Punjab,” he added.