Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today promised total implementation of his party's election promise on farm debt waiver while also ruling out any move to withdraw free power for agriculture even as he accused the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal of trying to mislead the people.
Singh, who was speaking at a programme held to issue debt waiver certificates amounting to Rs 162.16 crore to 29,192 farmers at the Dana Mandi in Nakodar here.
The chief minister made it clear he was totally committed to implementing the promise of debt waiver, which he had made ahead of the Assembly elections after hearing of farmer suicides in every place he visited.
The number of suicides had come down since the Congress took over in March last year, he said adding there was a marked improvement in the situation, about which his government will give details in the forthcoming budget session of the Vidhan Sabha.
Attacking the Akalis for allegedly indulging in propaganda against his government on the issue of tubewell meters, he ruled out any proposal to withdraw free power for farmers.
The Congress government had only provided meters to 900 of the 13.5 lakh tubewells in the state as part of a research project aimed at saving ground water while ensuring that the farmers also get an incentive in the form of cash savings for their personal use, he said.
He further explained this by pointing out that if a farmer is given Rs 10,000 against his tubewell power consumption and ends up spending Rs 7000 then not only will the remaining Rs 3000 go into his pocket but he will also contribute to saving the dipping ground water level in the state.
"The Akalis are trying to create misconceptions in the mind of the people by making false allegations against the Congress over the issue," said Singh.
It was the responsibility of our generation to save water for future generations, said the chief minister, warning that Punjab could well end up as a desert unless immediate corrective measures were taken.
He cited the example of Patiala where the water level had receded from 70 feet to 700 feet in thirty years.
Instead of appreciating the efforts of his government, the Akalis were indulging in deceit and accusations, alleged Singh.
He alleged the Akalis, "were hand-in-glove with the BJP and only interested in filling their pockets at the cost of Punjab's economy".
"The nexus between the two parties was evident from the fact that the Akali leadership had started plying buses in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh ever since the BJP took over in that state," he further alleged.
"She did not raise her voice even though the BJP government at the Centre failed to take any steps in the budget for the farming community," said Singh, pointing out that the NDA government had failed to implement the Swaminathan report, which was the only way to help the farmers.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)