The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi and chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to explain why they had duped the poster boy of its promised loan waiver scheme - Budh Singh and lakhs of Punjab farmers by promising 'karja kurki khatam' but refused to implement the same for nearly two years now.
Former Cabinet Minister in the Punjab Government and SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said that by betraying the solemn promise made to Budh Singh that his loan would be the first loan to the waived off, both Rahul Gandhi and Captain Amarinder, who had authored the scheme and assured its implementation respectively, had committed a crime against humanity.
"They have collectively destroyed the lives of lakhs of farmers and have driven hundreds to suicide. Still, they are unmoved by the misery of the farmers and are refusing to honour the pledge made to Budh Singh as well as all other farmers of the State. It was unfortunate that after destroying the Punjab peasantry, Rahul Gandhi had promised a similar fraudulent loan waiver scheme to farmers of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh," he asserted.
Terming the present plight of the Punjab peasantry as a tragedy beyond compare, Majithia said Captain Amarinder had as Pradesh Congress president stood beside Budh Singh of Dera Baba Nanak constituency and used him as the poster boy of the Congress party's 'karja kurki khatam, fasal ki puri rakam' loan waiver scheme. He said Budh Singh and scores of other farmers across the State had voted for the Congress party in the 2017 elections after Capt Amarinder Singh uploaded a video promising them a complete loan waiver of Rs 90,000 crore covering nationalized and cooperative banks as well as private money lenders. "Two years have passed since this promise. The entire farming community feels cheated. More than 500 farmers have ended their lives when like Budh Singh their loans multiplied because they stopped paying instalments in the hope for of an early waiver. The government, however, remained unmoved by the plight of the peasantry and even refused to give jobs to family members of suicide victims".
Asserting that he had raised the issue of the suffering of Budh Singh in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha also one year back, Majithia said he had been assured that the farmer's loan would be waived off. "Apparently the Congress government is in the habit of lying in the sacred Vidhan Sabha also", he said, adding the government had not only failed to implement the promised loan waiver but had also started 'kurki' proceedings against farmers. He further said that a notice was also posted on the door of Budh Singh's house in Kotli Surat Mali in Gurdaspur district. "Same is the case with other farmers, with recovery (kurki) proceedings being initiated against them despite lies by the Congress in the Vidhan Sabha that no 'kurki' was being done against farmers," he added.
Stating that farmers in Punjab were facing the worst crisis ever, the Akali leader said they had not been paid for crop damage for more than one year now. He stated that paddy farmers had suffered huge losses due to Congress government's dictatorial order delaying paddy transplantation by ten days, which resulted in low yields and high moisture content in food grain forcing farmers to pay bribes of Rs 100 to Rs 150 per quintal to get their paddy procured.
Majithia said sugarcane farmers had not been paid Rs 400 crore dues pending since one year besides being offered the lowest procurement rate in Northern India. "Recently potato farmers have suffered crippling losses but the government has failed to come out with a relief package to save them from ruin. Punjab has not witnessed such an anti-farmer government ever", he added.
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