Many farmers unions staged a protest in front of state minister Surjit Rakhra’s house on Patiala-Nabha Road to seek redressal of their pending demands.
The key speakers blamed rising debt as the major reason behind farmers’ suicide and demanded the state and centre to waive off the debts on small and medium farmers immediately, beside lending them interest-free loans for at least five years, in order to improve their financial status.
They also demanded that money charged by the state government from the small farmers for installing tubewells should be refunded, besides allotment of adequate land for labourers and landless farmers. They appealed for a separate policy for landless farmers to protect their rights. The farmers also raised the issues of the recent atrocities on Dalit farmers in different parts of the state over allotment of land in villages.
”Today’s protest was to remind the state agencies of their continuous failure of protecting the interest of the farming community in Punjab that has plunged into huge financial crisis, said local president of BKU-Dakonda, Darshan Singh.
“There is an urgent need to save Punjab’s small and medium farmers whose land holdings have shrunk and they have no option left but to commit suicide,” he added. He said that the protest was a part of their state-wide agitation to gherao all Punjab cabinet ministers’ home.
Meanwhile, the farmers’ union will hand over a charter of demands to the management of State Bank of Patiala on December 22, pertaining to the problems being faced by farmers due to demonetisation.
“A protest will also be held in order to highlight the plight of farmers due to the cash crunch,” said union member Avtar Singh.