A day after Punjab chief minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh received "Fakhr-e-Quam" (pride of the community) title from arhatiyas (grain commission agents), the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday said the CM should have got gratitude of farmers of the state by implementing a complete loan waiver.
Member of Parliament and SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said the CM accepted the title from a group of arhatiyas after failing to persuade them to lower interest rates to help the distressed peasantry in its hour of crisis.
Stating this in a statement, Chandumajra said the peasantry of Punjab had been waiting since three months for a complete farm loan waiver. But the CM has cheated farmers by announcing waiver of crop loan only, he said.
"This loan of Rs 50,000 is taken for a six month period to facilitate plantation of new crops. It has a recovery rate of 90 to 95 per cent. So in effect the Congress government has played a fraud on the small and marginal farmers who take term loans of one year and above and will not get any relief at all," the Akali leader.
He said the SAD will launch a people’s movement to force the government to honour its promise of a complete loan waiver of all loans taken from cooperative and nationalized banks as well as those taken from arhatiyas.
The SAD leader said farmers take loans for tractors and agricultural implements. They also take loans to start dairy or poultry farms. In case they are unable to give regular installments these loans amounts become un-payable over a period of time, he said.
"It is wrong on your (CM) part to defame farmers by stating that all big loans are taken to build houses. This is akin to rubbing salt on the wounds of farmers who were hoping for immediate relief but have now been effectively told that they will not get the promised loan waiver,” the Akali leader said.