Marriages, machinery behind farm debt, waiver no solution, say Punjab MPs
The discussion was organised by the Farmer and Labourer Suicide Victim Families’ Committee.punjab Updated: Feb 19, 2018 11:51 IST
Too much expenditure on marriages and machinery are to be blamed for farm debt in the state and loan waiver is no solution to the agrarian crisis, three MPs and an MLA from Punjab said on Sunday.
The MPs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress MLA, who were here to discuss farmer suicides in the state, held that farmers have been spending unnecessary money on social functions, especially marriages and tractors.
The discussion was organised by the Farmer and Labourer Suicide Victim Families’ Committee.
AAP MPs from Sangrur and Patiala Bhagwant Mann and Dharamvira Gandhi, SAD’s Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra and Dhuri Congress MLA Dalvir Goldy and a representative of Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar participated in the discussion. More than 100 suicide victims’ families were also there to share their stories.
The organisers said machinery and marriages might play 1 per cent role in increasing debt but ‘anti-farmer’ polices are mainly responsible for the problem.
However, activists disagreed with them, alleging that farmers have been facing debt due to anti-farmer policies of the successive governments.
Sangrur MP Mann said, “The SAD-BJP government’s policies and factors such as machinery are the major reasons behind farm debt. The loan waiver is no solution to Punjab’s agrarian crisis.”
The speakers and the victims’ families opined that expensive education and health services were also to be blamed for farm debt.
“We should adopt a rational approach while categorising farmers. The rich and upper-middle class farmers should not be given debt waiver. They should rather pay taxes and power bills and not go for subsidy. People having land and government jobs are not farmers,” said Gandhi. SAD MP Prem Singh Chandumajra emphasised on cooperative farming. He said that MPs from Punjab will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi next week over the agrarian crisis facing the state.
“Only cooperative farming can save Punjab,” he said.
“Farmer unions should not politicise the farmers’ issues. I will raise the issue of free education and health services to the families of those who ended their lives duo to debt,” said Congress MLA Goldy.
The organisers said machinery and marriages might play 1 per cent role in increasing debt but ‘anti-farmer’ polices are mainly responsible for the problem. “Liquor and social functions are not major factors. The governments have failed to make pro-farmer polices. Loan waiver will provide immediate relief to farmers,” said Pyara Lal Garg, an activist.
First Published: Feb 19, 2018 11:48 IST