Patiala/ Chandigarh, January 21, 2016: S Charanjit Singh Channi, Leader of Opposition today demanded that entire debt of the farmers and farm workers, both institutional and non-institutional, must be waived off by the government and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should seek special package for this purpose from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Akali Dal was in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The demand was raised after a party delegation including MLAs Preneet Kaur and Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Madan Lal Jalalpur visited the family of the farmer late Jaswant Singh, 65, of Gajisalar village near Samana in Patiala district who recently committed suicide hours before the marriage of his daughter Lakhvinder Kaur.
The delegation handed over Rs 2 lakh as token help to Lakhvinder Kaur and her brother Sarjan Singh, both kids of the late Jaswant Singh. The delegation demanded government job for one member of the bereaved family.
Preneet said besides waiving entire debt, the government must ensure government job to a member of the family of the distressed farmer taking such extreme step.
Channi described the situation as alarming with such tragedies being reported almost every day, especially in the cotton belt in the Malwa region. He urged Badal to approach Modi for special package for this state to provide relief to the farmers and farm workers as it was Punjab that had played pioneering role in providing food security to the country. Now Badal could not shift blame on the centre as Akali Dal was part of the alliance at the centre with Harsimrat Kaur Badal from this party being part of the Modi cabinet.
The Congress also pressed for enhancement of Rs 3 lakh compensation announced by the Punjab government to Rs 5 lakh besides government job to a member of the bereaved family as it was the moral responsibility of the government to protect the farming community.
Channi pointed out there was a big discrepancy between the government and the survey conducted by the universities in the state on the number of farmers having committed suicides. While the government had admitted to only about 80 suicides, the universities had put the figure at about 3,000 during the last four years.
He said farming should be made profitable and prices of the farm produce fixed on the formula recommended by Dr M S Swaminathan to ensure 50 per cent profit to the farmers over and above the cost of production. He berated the Modi government from backtracking from the poll promise of implementing Swaminathan committee recommendations.
Later Channi also participated in the Dharna organized by the unemployed line men in front of the Punjab State electricity board office in Patiala. Addressing dharna S Channi said that this Governments attitude towards the unemployed linemen who are sitting on Dharna for the last 15 days shows their lackluster attitude. He assured them that the congress party would take up this issue in the coming Vidhan Sabha session.
Thursday, January 21, 2016