Farmers whose debts waived need not repay loans, says Punjab CM Amarinder
The chief minister said the process of loan waiver, as announced in the budget, will start within two months.Updated: Jun 29, 2017 19:45 IST
Assuring an early notification to implement the recent budget decision, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the farmers whose loans have been waived stood immediately exempt from repayment of their debts.
Addressing a meeting of various farmers’ organisations in Chandigarh, Singh said the process of loan waiver, as announced in the budget, will start within two months.
He had in the recently-concluded budget session of the assembly announced total waiver of entire crop loans up to ₹2 lakh for small and marginal farmers (up to 5 acres), and a flat ₹2 lakh relief for all other marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount.
He had said the move will benefit a total of 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75 lakh farmers up to 5 acres.
The CM added that his government will continue to pressure the Centre for implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, on which all the farmers unions had expressed consensus as the “only “real long-term solution” to the problems of the peasants, an official spokesperson said.
He added that his government was committed to waiving the loans of the farmers, even though the state’s debt burden had turned out to be “much higher than anticipated”.
A cabinet sub-committee has already been formed to speak to the ‘arthiyas’ (commission agents) to resolve the issue of non-institutional loans, the chief minister said, responding to concerns expressed on this count, the spokesperson said.
Capt also reaffirmed Punjab’s inability to share river water with other states, claiming that if Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal comes up, then 10,000 acres of southern part of the state would “go dry”.
He advocated continuous dialogue to resolve the festering issue and said Punjab’s water will not be allowed to be diverted to other states and a committee under the finance minister was working continuously to solve the problem.
Besides loans waiver, other issues discussed by the kisan unions who participated in the meeting included fixation of price of crops on recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report (MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production), as well as compensation of ₹10 lakh to farmers who committed suicide due to debt, job to one dependent member of family.
Ownership rights to cultivators who have been cultivating Panchyati land since long, proper arrangements for stray animals as they cause damage to crops and a stop to acquisition of land without the consent of farmers were among the other key demands of the farmers’ organisations, the spokesperson said.