Farm loan waiver: Opposition accuses Punjab govt of cheating with farmers

SAD leader Sukhbir Badal coming out of the Punjab assembly in Chandigarh on Tuesday

(Photo: Pardeep Saini)

Opposition parties say budget outlay of just Rs. 1,500 crore not enough

With the Captain Amarinder Singh government making provision of just Rs. 1,500 crore in state's budget for its farm loan waiver scheme, opposition parties on Tuesday questioned the Congress government's commitment to fulfil this key pre-poll promise.

Addressing a Press conference, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal said before elections, the Congress promised for a total farm loan waiver and even made farmers fill up forms for the same.

"In past 90 days, 90 farmers have committed suicide. We demand the Congress government to fulfil its pre-poll promise. But this is not possible with budget outlay of just Rs. 1,500 crore," Badal said.

He said the total farm loans in Punjab are close to Rs 90,000 Crore and even for the payment of the interest amount of farm loans, the government would require at least Rs. 8,000 crore. "The Rs. 1,500 crore earmarked by the government for farm loan waiver will thus suffice only for three months. It's a big fraud with Punjab farmers in the name of loan waiver," Badal claimed.

Leader of Opposition and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, HS Phoolka said Punjab's farmers have been cheated by the state government with the budgetary provision of Rs. 1,500 Crore for the farm waiver.
"The Chief Minister yesterday announced total farm loan waiver and the finance minister today made this paltry provision. Therefore, the CM, Capt Amarinder, lied to the Assembly. We will move a privilege motion against the CM for this. It's a big fraud with Punjab. The government has gone back on its promise for farm loan waiver," Phoolka said.

He also accused the state government of making no provision for fulfilling its promise for government job for each household.
Making the farm loan waiver announcement in Assembly on Monday, the CM, however, said the move would benefit a total of 10.25 lakh farmers, including 8.75-lakh farmers up to five acres. The initiative would provide double the relief announced by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, he claimed.