The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said it was a shame that the Congress government was insulting farmers in the name of a loan waiver when nothing was being done for them or farm labourers even as farm suicides were on the rise with 400 farmers committing suicide in the last one year.
In a statement here, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said it was shocking that the Congress government was using popular singers and an advertisement blitzkrieg to befool Punjabis into thinking that a farm loan waiver was taking place in Punjab. “The truth is that the Congress government has failed to implement the promised Rs 90,000 crore farmer loans taken from nationalized and cooperative banks as well as private money lenders”.
Stating that the Congress leaders were making merry over the dead bodies of farmers, Mr Majithia said top singers were being called at functions which were falsely being touted as loan waiver events as had happened at Gurdaspur. He said besides “celebrating” the plight of farmers with songs like “ishq da gidda”, few farmers were handed over giant cheques of three feet by six feet which had small amounts written on them. “Farmers would be happy if the cheques were smaller but had their real accumulated debt amounts on them”, he added.
Terming the present cultural mela exercise as the biggest betrayal of the farming community in the history of the State, Mr Majithia said the truth was that the government had even failed to implement a crop loan return scheme. “The present scheme caters to only five per cent farmers who have defaulted on crop loans and does not include marginal farmers who own 2.5 acres of land”.
The Akali leader said despite an assurance by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, the Congress government had failed to give any relief to farm labourers who were also committing suicide in large numbers. “The intentions of the government can also be gauged from the fact that even the poster boy of the farm loan waiver – Budh Singh of Gurdaspur – has failed to get any relief. Budh Singh’s land is now set to be auctioned even as Congressmen make merry at crop loan functions by indulging in song and dance”.
Asking the government to scrap the present sham scheme which did not even address farmers who were under stress and committing suicide, he said the government should implement a complete Rs 90,000 crore crop loan waiver as promised by Capt Amarinder Singh in signed affidavits to farmers. He said the SAD on its part would continue to fight for the cause of complete waiver of loans of farmers and farm labourers and would shortly announce an agitation plan for the same.