Laying to rest apprehensions raised by the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal in the Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh clarified that debt-ridden farmers will not face ‘kurki’ (sale of mortgaged property) in Punjab.
Amarinder’s campaign managers had coined the slogan ‘Karza Kurki Khatam, Fasal Di Puri Rakam (end to farm debt and its recovery, and full payment for the crop)’ ahead of the assembly polls in Punjab. The CM said he remained committed to the poll promise.
During the zero hour, Akali legislator NK Sharma posed a query to the government on farmers receiving notices from banks to pay back loans. Replying to it, the CM said “no such notices were sent” and the banks were given clear instructions not to approach farmers for recovery of loans.
“Our government has made it clear that no bank will initiate ‘kurki’ of farmers’ property to recover the outstanding debt,” Amarinder told the House.
Talking to mediapersons after the House was adjourned sine die, Amarinder said the Congress had already promised in its poll manifesto to waive farm debt and was in the process to devise a mechanism to implement it. “I will get it checked if any bank has sent recovery notices to farmers despite my government’s clear instructions,” he said.
Cabinet not selling ‘chitta’: Sidhu to Akalis
Earlier in the House, former finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa questioned the government’s orders to halt ongoing development works started during the Akali-BJP regime. He said the government has the powers to issue such orders to the state departments but not to the civic bodies.
A combative local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu replied that the government’s intention was very clear, and the Congress cabinet was not indulging in selling ‘chitta’. “What were you doing in the past 10 years?” he questioned the Akali legislators.
Reacting to Dhindsa’s remarks, Congress legislator Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said under the Akali-BJP government, panchayats were asked to bring in resolutions that the public works department would carry out development works in rural areas. “Was that justified?” he said.
BJP hails end to halqa in-charges
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Som Parkash praised the Congress government for putting an end to the halqa in-charge system prevalent during the Akali regime. “The decision should remain in place,” he said. The system of giving prominence to local Akali leaders in respective assembly segments was opposed by their alliance partners BJP a number of times.
Earlier, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief whip Sukhpal Singh Khaira raised the issue of potato-growers, seeking subsidy for transportation of their produce to other states on the pattern of Gujarat.
AAP legislator Baljinder Kaur sought relief for the kin of the four persons who died in an accident in her constituency, Talwandi Sabo, last week. Her party colleague Aman Arora asked the government to restore power connections to the state-run waterworks so that the water supply is not affected.
Obituaries: Barnala remembered
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha paid tributes to politicians and other eminent personalities who passed away in recent months. Former chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala and former ministers Gurdev Singh Badal and Raj Khurana were among those remembered. Others who were given tributes were former MLAs Makhan Singh and Ram Lubhaya, senior Congress leader Rajinderpal Singh Attri and former SC panel vice-chairman Rajinder Kumar. Veteran actor Om Puri and artiste Phulan Rani also figured in the obituary list. Freedom fighters Durga Singh, Malkiat Singh, Sewa Singh and Gurbachan Singh and martyrs Jasvir Singh and Jagjit Singh were also paid tributes.