Punjab CM gives debt relief to over 1 lakh farmers

Patiala (Punjab): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday gave debt relief against commercial bank loans to the tune of Rs 1771 crore to 1, 09,730 eligible marginal farmers in four districts. He has also announced the extension of the waiver scheme to farmers with a landholding of 2.5 to 5 acres.

The amount is being transferred directly to the accounts of the marginal farmers of commercial banks directly and the process will be completed by Saturday, the Chief Minister said at a state-level function, where he symbolically handed over debt relief certificates to 25 farmers.

The farmers covered in this phase belong to Patiala, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.

Addressing the function, Singh said that in the next phase, farmers having land of 2.5 to 5 acres would get debt waiver towards both cooperative and commercial banks. He also reiterated his commitment to waive off the loans of the landless labourers in the subsequent phases of the implementation of the waiver scheme.

The Chief Minister said waiver up to Rs. 2 lakh had been given to all the marginal farmers and also to the small farmers who had availed loan up to Rs. 2 lakh under the scheme. He added that a sum of Rs. 1815 crore of 3.18 lakh marginal farmers of cooperative banks had been waived off in the first phase, in addition to Rs. 1771 crore of 1.09 lakh marginal farmers of commercial banks in today’s State Level Debt Relief Function.

The Chief Minister announced that as many as 2.15 lakhs small farmers of Cooperative Banks would be covered in the third phase, while 50752 small farmers of Commercial Banks would be covered in the fourth phase.

Underlining the need to export sugar and potatoes to Central Asian countries, the Chief Minister said that he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include these items in the export list, which was cleared yesterday. If the Government of India allows Punjab to export these products, sugarcane and potato farmers of the state would be immensely benefitted, he added.

Captain Amarinder expressed concern about the problem of spurious seeds, agri-chemicals and other inputs that reach the farmers and said his government was maintaining a strict, 24X7 vigil to check sale of such products.