Thursday, July 07, 2022

SAD asks CM to direct cooperative banks to stop issuing arrest warrants against farmers

PUNJABNEWSLINE | April 21, 2022 06:11 PM

CHANDIGARH: -The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked chief minister Bhagwant Singh Mann to direct cooperative banks to stop issuing arrest warrants against farmers who had failed to repay their loans because of deteriorating financial conditions due to crop failures coupled with sharp increase in agricultural inputs.

In a statement here, senior SAD leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema expressed shock that arrest warrants had been issued to farmers in Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts for failing to repay loans taken from the Punjab Agricultural Development Bank. He said most of the defaulters were from the State’s cotton belt.

Asserting that the chief minister was best informed about the agricultural crisis being faced by the State and had always been a votary against use of high handed methods against farmers, Dr Daljit Cheema demanded immediate withdrawal of the arrest warrants. He said the AAP government should also extend all possible help to farmers including ensuring they were paid a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal to compensate them for the failure of their wheat crop. “The government should also reduce State VAT on diesel which has witnessed a sharp hike during the last one month besides coming up with other schemes to reduce farm indebtedness”.

Dr Cheema made it clear that the SAD would not sit quiet in the face of arrest of farmers of the State. “The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) must honour its word and take the farmers out of the circle of indebtedness instead of using arrest warrants to humiliate and harass them”. He said this tactic was already having an adverse effect with three farmers committing suicide in Bathinda and Mansa district fearing increased indebtedness due to low wheat crop yields.

The SAD leader also expressed shock that the AAP government had not reacted in time and did not make a case for comprehensive relief to Punjab farmers following partial failure of their wheat crop. “No effort was made to demand release of funds from the Disaster Management Fund by making out a case of natural calamity due to excessive rains followed by a sharp increase in the temperature”. He said the State had also not requisitioned the centre to take stock of the losses suffered by the farmers till now.

Dr Cheema also asked the chief minister to get active and request the centre to release funds to the cooperative and land mortgage banks in Punjab. He said Nabard had put a stop to release of funds due to which the banks in Punjab were not extending loans to farmers of the State. “With commission agents also refusing to extend credit to farmers due to the recent wheat crop failure the situation has become very precarious. The chief minister must intervene immediately and resolve all the problems being faced by the farming community”, Dr Cheema added. EOM


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