Stop misleading farmers on loan waiver, Capt Amarinder urges kisan union leaders

Chandigarh, September 23

          Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has urged leaders of the farming community in the state to stop misleading the farmers with false statements on the issue of loan waiver, the process for which has already been initiated by his government in right earnest.

          In a statement issued here a day after various kisan unions began a protest dharna on the outskirts of Patiala, alleging that the government’s waiver scheme would benefit only a small number of farmers, the Chief Minister said baseless charges were being made against his government by politically motivated farmer leaders.

          The waiver scheme announced by his government, and set to be notified soon following the cabinet approval, will benefit 10.25 lakh of the 13 lakh farming families who borrowed loans, said the Chief Minister, pointing out that this constituted nearly 80{24655140843e7bcb4aa69aff0fc2b2d5d48525935bdde409706aea9cf89e05da} of the borrowers in the farming community, which has a total of 17 lakh plus families.

          Contrary to what the farmer leaders, clearly instigated by some of the political parties in the opposition, are trying to project, the fact is that his government’s loan waiver scheme would positively impact the majority of the small and marginal farmers, leaving out only the big farmers, who would be covered in the next phase, Captain Amarinder said.

          The loan waiver amount announced by his government was also way above that announced by other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka, despite the fact that Punjab was definitely in a much worse financial condition. Unlike the other states, Punjab’s scheme would help waive off loans up to Rs 2 lakh for farmers with up to 5 acres of land and an outright relief of Rs 2 lakh each to other small and marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount, the Chief Minister pointed out. States like Rajasthan and Karnataka have announced a mere Rs 50000 loan waiver for farmers.

          What is more, the Punjab government has also decided to take over the interest of the affected farmers with retrospective effect, from the date of announcement of the waiver scheme in the state Assembly, till the date of notification, said the Chief Minister.

          Captain Amarinder also cited media reports pointing to loan waivers as low as 1 paise in Uttar Pradesh, making a mockery of the farmers’ woes. In contrast, his government had already drawn up a detailed list of farmers, with exact amounts of their loans, to be benefitted in the first phase, which will be implemented as soon as the notification is issued. The cabinet has already approved the notification, which is now awaiting clearance from the Election Commission, to which it has been sent in view of the Election Code of Conduct in place due to the Gurdaspur by-election.

          The concerned officials in the Departments of Agriculture and Finance have been working closely with the banks, since the Punjab farm loan waiver scheme was announced in June, to prepare detailed lists of the farmers and their loan amounts, to be covered in the first phase. The groundwork has already been completed and the process of waiver will be initiated at the earliest, once the necessary notification is issued, the Chief Minister assured, urging the farmers not to be incited by false and baseless claims and allegations of the opposition parties and some of the farmer leaders working at the behest of these parties.

          It was only a matter of weeks now for the implementation process to begin, said Captain Amarinder, appealing to the farmers not to resort to extreme measures, such as suicide, out of desperation.  The newly constituted Lal Singh-led committee has also commenced the task of taking cognizance of the farmers’ grievances and will address the same on urgent basis, he further assured.

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