Opposition parties on Tuesday targeted the Congress-led Government over the issue of farmers’ suicide while blaming the ruling party for betraying the state’s farmers with the false promise of complete loan waiver.
Holding responsible the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s “complete loan waiver” promise for the suicide committed by a father-son duo in Dasuya, SAD MLA and former Minister Bikram Singh Majithia demanded that a criminal case be registered against the Chief Minister, along with state Congress president Sunil Jakhar and Cooperatives Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa “for befooling and defrauding them”.
Majithia, raising the issue of debt waiver and farmers’ suicide during the zero hour, lashed out at the Government for not fulfilling its major pre-poll promise of complete loan waiver, which is resulting in increasing number of farmers’ suicide. He maintained that whatever debt the Congress Government was claiming to have waived off was “just three percent of the total”.
The members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also joined in questioning the government’s failure to address the issue.
“I raised the issue during zero hour to demand justice for the father-son duo of Jagtar Singh and Kirpal Singh who committed suicide after feeling cheated by the refusal of the Congress Government to waive off their cooperative society loan,” said Majithia.
Reading out from the “suicide note” written by the duo, Majithia said that the farmers had clearly mentioned that the Government would waive off all loans but their debt was not waived off. “The government as well as the Congress party should be held accountable for this,” he asserted.
Pointing that nearly 1,500 farmers had laid down their lives in despair, the Akali leader said that even these farmers had been betrayed. “The Government had promised that it would give a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a government job to families whose next of kin had committed suicide but had reneged on this promise also,” said Majithia while rubbishing the government’s claims on loan waiver saying that it was an established fact that as much as 97 percent loans had not been waived off.
Congress’ MLA from Sri Hargobindpur Congress Balwinder Singh Laddi, raised a dust of controversy, by asserting that all the farmers’ suicides were not due to debt burden.
WAR OF WORDS BETWEEN MAJITHIA, GILL
Congress MLA from Patti Harminder Singh Gill and Akali Dal legislator Bikram Singh Majithia entered into a verbal duel when Gill raised the issue of alleged support by Sunder Singh Majthia to Mahant Narain Das during the Nankana Sahib massacre. Hitting back, Majithia alleged Gill had links with a police officer Ajit Singh Sandhu, “known for killing innocent Sikh youth during militancy days”. Notably, the Nankana massacre took place in Nankana Sahib gurdwara on February 20, 1921, at that time a part of the British. More than 260 Sikhs were killed, including young children, by the Udasi custodian Mahant Narayan Das and his mercenaries.
SAD ASKS SPEAKER TO ALLOCATE TWO DAYS FOR DISCUSSION ON EMERGENT FARMER ISSUES
Requesting Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker to allocate two days for exclusive discussion on emergent issues concerning the farmers of the state, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislative wing on Tuesday also demanded the Congress Government announce minimum support price (MSP) for vegetables and fruits.
The legislative wing, which handed over a representation in this regard to Speaker Rana KP Singh under the leadership of Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, said that the two-day discussion besides covering the issues of the complete farm loan waiver promise, farmers’ suicides, and the Congress Government’s failure to take up the issue of repeal of the three Agricultural laws with the Central Government, should also spell out the way forward.
The representation stated that one such way ahead was announcing MSP for all vegetables and fruits immediately as this “would provide much needed security to vegetable and potato growers as well as kinnow growers besides others”.
SAD MLAs including Bikram Singh Majithia, NK Sharma, among others, said that the State was in the midst of an agrarian crisis, and “the major reason for this is the complete loan waiver promise made by the then Pradesh Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh in January 2017 at Talwandi Sabo by taking a holy oath in the name of the Gutka Sahib and the Dasam Pitah”.
They said Punjabis were also angry that their government had not defended them against persecution by the Delhi Police and that chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to take up the issues of farmers with the central government.
The SAD legislators also pointed out that other agricultural issues which needed a resolution included timely release of hundreds of crores owed to sugarcane farmers and ensuring increase of the State Assured Price on the pattern of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. They said a holistic policy was needed to reduce dependence on wheat and paddy and stop depletion of the water table by giving a push to alternative crops.
AAP TERMS GOVERNOR’S ADDRESS A HOAX
Coming down heavily on the Governor VP Singh Badnore, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday termed it shameful not to read the paragraph written on the farmers’ movement during his address in the Vidhan Sabha. The party termed the Governor’s speech a hoax saying that there was nothing other than the praise of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the Congress.
“In the Governor’s speech, it was written about the ongoing farmers’ agitation across the country but was not read out in the State Assembly,” said the Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema.
“In the Governor’s address, the agriculture laws passed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha were told to be pending with the Prime Minister, when in fact they were still with the Governor of Punjab.
With this, the people of Punjab have been misled by lying which the Government has been doing for the last four years,” he said.
AAP MLA Aman Arora said that the party had raised questions to discuss other important issues, but the Speaker illegally dismissed them.
“An important issue among them is the stray animals in Punjab. Road accidents caused by stray animals are costing the lives of the people and causing severe damage to the crops of the farmers,” he said.