CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government has decided to withdraw cases registered against farmers in the farmer stir and upped the compensation for damage to cotton crop to Rs 17,000 per acre from Rs 12,000. However, the government is silent on the contentious issue of farm loans worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore. Nor has it decided the pension amount for old farmers.
Cotton growers are the main recipients of relief declared by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. They suffered huge losses due to a pest attack on crops. Farm labourers, too, have benefited from the government largesse.
Channi on Wednesday chaired a meeting of representatives of 32 farm unions represented by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha and led by Punjab BKU (Rajewal Group) chief Balbir Singh Rajewal. Channi said the enhanced compensation would involve nearly Rs 200 crore in addition to the already approved Rs 416.18 crore.
Channi also announced cancellation of all cases registered by the state police against farmers who protested against the Central farm laws within the state. The CM assured SKM representatives he would take up the matter with the Governor, who is also the administrator of Chandigarh, to withdraw cases against those who participated in a protest march towards Raj Bhawan.
"We reminded the CM that his party is yet to honour its promise to waive farm loans amounting to Rs 90,000 lakh crore due to arhtiyas, cooperative banks, and commercial banks. The CM has assured us he would call a separate meeting within a week," Rajewal said.
Channi referred to the demand for a loan waiver for small, marginal and landless farmers, saying he would meet their representatives after a detailed briefing by the finance department. He said that 5.63 lakh farmers have benefitted from the earlier loan waiver amounting to Rs 4,610.84 crore. Besides, Rs 520 crore have gone to landless farmers and farm workers.