Leader of Opposition in state assembly Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday demanded that the entire debt —both institutional and non-institutional — of farmers and farm workers must be waived by the government.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal should seek a special package from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Akali Dal was an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“It’s time to give some relief to distressed farmers. Instead of portraying his government as pro-farmers, Badal should get money from Modi to mitigate farmers’ woes,” said Channi.
Channi and other Congress leaders, including MLAs Preneet Kaur and Hardyal Singh Kamboj, and former MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur, visited the family of Samana farmer Jaswant Singh, 65, who committed suicide hours before the marriage of his daughter Lakhvinder Kaur.
The delegation handed over Rs 2 lakh to the farmer’s family.
“The situation on the agriculture front is alarming as farmer suicides are being reported almost every day. The chief minister must approach Modi for special package to provide relief to farmers in the state,” Channi said.
He said there was a discrepancy between official figures and those of survey conducted by universities in the state on number of farmer suicides. While the government had admitted to about 80 suicides in the past four years, the universities have put the figure at 3,000. “Instead of resolving farmers’ problems, the government is trying to suppress their voice,” claimed Channi. He also questioned the SAD-BJP regime over non-implementation of Dr MS Swaminathan report, a poll promise made by the alliance partners ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Patiala MLA and former Union minister Preneet Kaur said apart from debt waiver, government job must be given to a member of victim families.
CLP leader joins linemen on dharna
Later, Channi also participated in dharna organised by unemployed linemen outside the Punjab state electricity board office in Patiala. Addressing protesters Channi said the state government doesn’t seem to be serious about demands of the unemployed linemen who are on dharna for the past 15 days. He said the Congress will raise the issue inside the assembly in the coming session.