Sukhbir Badal demands imm waiver of farm debt to stem wave of suicides in Punjab

Ajnala, July 26 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today demanded immediate waiving off of all farmer loans to stem the wave of suicides in the State, even as he asked the Congress government to give compensation and job to the family of suicide victim Major Singh.

The SAD president, who met the family of Major Singh here, also announced that he had instructed SAD district presidents to meet all suicide victim families. “The district presidents will take affidavits from them ask if they had been given the promised Rs ten lakh compensation and a government job or not”.

During the visit the aggrieved family told the SAD president that it had voted for the Congress hoping their debt would be written off as promised. They said however after the Congress government was formed Major Singh started getting demoralized after reading the repeated flip flops of the government on the issue of loan waiver. They said the cruel joke in the form of Rs 1,500 crore crop loan waiver by finance minister Manpreet Badal had convinced Major that his loan would not be waived off and he eventually decided to take his life.

Later interacting with newsmen, Mr Badal said this was the main reason why the SAD had demanded that finance minister Manpreet Badal be booked for abetting the suicide of Major Singh. He said it was the finance minister who had failed to implement the total loan waiver commitment made by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha. He said what was galling was that even this fraudulent commitment of Rs 1,500 crore was not honoured and no notification had been made in this regard.

Stating that the SAD would not rest till the Congress government executed a complete loan waiver as promised by the chief minister, he said the party would soon draw up an agitation programme for the same. He also demanded immediate waiver of the total accumulated loan of Major Singh. He said Major’s family had told him that he had taken loan from nationalised and cooperative banks and also Arhatiyas. He also demanded giving Rs 10 lakh compensation to the aggrieved family as well as a police Inspector’s job to the suicide victim’s son.

Mr Badal said it was shameful that even the local Congress mla had not even come to condole the family despite the fact that it was for the first time in the history of India that a farmer had stated in his suicide note that he had voted for a party because it had promised a loan waiver. He said the family had told him that a DSP level officer had come to them and offered Rs 3 lakh and a government job. “How can a DSP level officer who is not sure of his own posting make any offer?”he asked adding such an assurance could only come from the CM office.

Mr Badal also demanded that the State government use the forms filled by farmers prior to the election at the instance of the Congress party for implementing the loan waiver promise. “The government is claiming that it is not getting access to debt accounts of farmers. This is a clear excuse. It should use the forms filled by farmers to initiate the complete loan waiver exercise immediately”, he added.

Stating that the Congress government alone was responsible for this wave of suicides which had touched the figure of 150 in the last four months, Mr Badal asked FM Manpreet Badal to explain why he had cheated farmers in the name of loan waiver. “The loan waiver was Manpreet Badal’s baby. He said Manpreet had incorporated the waiver in the party’s election manifesto and even said he knew how it could be implemented due to his past record as finance minister. However when the time came to implement this in the budget, he killed the waiver by announcing a Rs 1,500 crore allocation which has not been released till yet. This amounts to not only betraying the farmers but is a fit case of willful deceit and he should also be booked for breach of trust”, the SAD President added.

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