Amarinder seeks farm loan waiver for Punjab

New Delhi: New Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday and pitched for waiving of loans of the state’s farmers.

On his first visit to Delhi after taking charge as Chief Minister on March 16, Amarinder Singh also met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and sought immediate authorisation and release of Rs 20,683 crore cash credit limit (CCL) from the Centre for smooth and timely wheat procurement in Punjab.

“I raised the debt waiver issue with the Prime Minister. It was an extension of the demand we made earlier when we met him as part of a Congress delegation led by party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi,” the Chief Minister told reporters after meeting Modi in his office in Parliament complex.

“I said the debt loan waiver should be extended to Punjab farmers along the lines of Uttar Pradesh,” Amarinder Singh said.

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal is accompanying Amarinder Singh during the visit.

Amarinder Singh told the central minister that a proposal seeking the CCL had already been sent to the Reserve Bank of India by the Punjab government, which hopes to procure over 100 lakh tonnes of wheat during this season (April-May).

Commenting on election strategist Prashant Kishor, the Congress Chief Minister said: “I am very happy with Kishor. He fought well. His team of 1,700 volunteers spread across Punjab villages and he had a team of 100 plus people in Chandigarh. We did well in Punjab,” he said.

The Congress bagged 77 of the 117 assembly seats in Punjab in the February 4 elections.

Asked on who could become Punjab Congress President after he became the Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh said: “Let Congress President Sonia Gandhi return from abroad. I will request her to choose someone else since I as Chief Minister cannot handle both the posts.”