Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Sunday launched the much-talked about farm debt waiver scheme at Mansa, claiming this will take Punjab’s poor peasantry out of debt trap.
He, however, acknowledged that there were certain gaps in the process of preparing the lists of eligible farmers for debt waiver. This comes in the wake of reports of many small and marginal farmers having been left out of the lists.
To begin with, nearly 47,000 farmers having landholdings of not more than 2.5 acres have been chosen from Malwa region’s five districts (Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Moga and Muktsar) that recorded a high incidence of farmer suicides.
The CM, who handed debt waiver cheques to 10 Malwa farmers, said, “While big farmers like me and Badal sahib (his predecessor Parkash Singh Badal) will be taking care of their own debt, poor farmers of the state will be awarded the debt waiver.”
He was accompanied by Punjab Congress president and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar and state finance minister Manpreet Badal.
The government will pay nearly Rs 170 crore to different cooperative societies registered with the Punjab Agriculture Development Bank (PADB) from where these farmers had taken the loans.
“We have deposited the (waived off loans) money in your bank accounts. Nobody will be left out. This is my assurance to you (farmers),” Amarinder said.
“There are some technical faults due to which some farmers were left out of the scheme. These issues are being resolved. I appeal to the farmers to approach their deputy commissioners and sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) to raise these issues,” he said.
The CM said Punjab has taken the lead over other states in waiving the farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh.
He said while the governments of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh had waived up to Rs 1 lakh, Rajasthan and Karnataka waived up to Rs 50,000 only.
“Punjab has its own compulsions keeping in mind the state’s poor financial health due to the financial mess created by the Akali government,” Capt said.
He said the name of the farmer who committed suicide in a Barnala village is there in the beneficiaries’ list that will be announced in the next phase.