CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday lashed out at the BJP-led central government for failing to come to the rescue of the beleaguered farmers and said that farmer suicides will continue in Punjab and other states if Centre does not give up its apathy to the farming community.
Launching the third phase of his government’s farm debt waiver scheme at Anandpur Sahib, he lambasted the Centre over its continued indifference to the woes of the farmers.
The states cannot do everything on their own, without the central government’s help, he said, acknowledging that the loan waiver scheme announced by his government was not enough to alleviate all the sufferings of the farmers in the state. With loan amounts of many farmers more than what his government was currently waiving off, their plight continued to be acute, said Amarinder.
Pointing out that his government had inherited a huge Rs. 2.08 lakh crore debt, he said the loan waiver scheme was the best he could have done in the circumstances especially considering the lack of support from the Centre and non-implementation of the Swaminathan report.
Even the prime minister and the finance minister, whom he had personally met to seek help for the farmers several times, had failed to realise the criticality of the situation and had implemented only a small part of the Swaminathan report, he said, demanding in toto implementation of the recommendations of the committee.
His government’s loan waiver scheme was only a temporary solution to the problems of the distressed farmers and the Centre had to step in if a permanent solution had to be found, Amarinder asserted. Meanwhile, however, he said his government would also soon come out with a loan waiver scheme for the landless labourers, who were also reeling under huge debt burdens.
Amarinder also hit out at the Centre for failing to provide compensation to farmers against stubble burning, which was one of the causes for air pollution in the state. He, however, categorically denied Punjab’s responsibility for pollution in Delhi, which he attributed to local reasons in the national capital.
Earlier, he handed over debt relief certificates to some of the beneficiaries to mark the launch of the third phase of the debt waiver scheme, in which Rs 1009 crore is being waived off for the benefit of 1.42 lakh small farmers of Cooperative Banks. As many as 2413 farmers of Ropar District got debt waiver certificates to the tune of Rs. 17.74 Crore.