Holding the successive Congress governments post-independence responsible for the pathetic condition of farmers, Union Minister and Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla today stated that the policies of the Congress had landed the nation as well as Punjab into an deep agricultural crisis. “The farmers are forced to commit suicides and the labourers working in their fields are living in a state of penury. The BJP is determined to achieve a permanent solution to this crisis. Capt. Amarinder Singh and Arvind Kejriwal are promising to waive off the loan of the farmers. Their promises are nothing but a bundle of lies. On one hand Capt. Amarinder Singh is luring the voters by claiming that he himself will waive off the loans, but on the other hand he and the whole Congress leadership is requesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to relinquish farmers’ debts.” Sampla questioned, “If only the PM has to waive off the loans of the farmers then why shouldn’t the people again vote for an Akali-BJP government”?
Speaking to media persons a day before the start of the second phase of the BJP’s Vijay Sankalp Rath Yatra, Sampla listed out the achievements of the Modi government at the Centre and the Akali-BJP government in the state. “During the last 10 years, Punjab’s Akali-BJP coalition government has provided subsidized electricity, health insurance, Aata-Dal scheme, free medicines, subsidized seeds and fertilizers etc. so that the farmers can be saved and the living standards of small, marginal and landless farmers, dependent on farming, be raised a bit higher. The issue of farmer suicides is extremely painful and it required and holistic Central policy. However, the due to Congress governments being in power for a long time, this was never possible. Now, the PM Modi government has initiated several strategic steps to bring about a permanent solution to bring the farmers out of this crisis”, said Sampla.Sampla futher said, “In the Union Budget 2016-17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi granted Rs. 35,984 crores for agricultural sector.
This is the highest ever sum allotted to the farming sector. Besides, Rs. 17,000 crores for irrigation projects, two new organic farming schemes for acreage of 5 lakh acres, Rs 19,000 crores under Gram Sadak Yojna, 9 lakh crores for Agricultural Credit Target and Rs. 38,500 crores for MNREGA have been granted by the Centre government”. He said that in addition to this, PM Modi also announced a major relief on the New Year’s Eve as the government will bear interest for 60 days on crop loans taken by farmers from district cooperative banks and primary societies for sowing operations this Rabi season. Not only this, he said, to provide loans to needy farmers, Rs. 20,000 crores have been granted to NABARD. Sampla said that the permanent solution to the agricultural crisis will continue to elude till the farmer gets to earn a good livelihood. He said that in order to achieve this, the Centre government has set a target to double the earnings of farmers by year 2022. Also, he said, to facilitate Open Mandis, programs like crop insurance and direct selling windows have been initiated by the government.
Slamming Capt. Amarinder Singh for misleading farmers by claiming to waive off their loans, Sampla said, “Soon after coming into power in the year 2002, Capt. Amarinder Singh snatched away free electricity from the farmers and just before his term was about to end, he restarted the scheme. Punjab’s farmers taught him such a lesson that he never returned to power. This time around too he is back to his antics. He is promising employment to each household but back in April 2002 soon after assuming office, he forced a complete ban on government jobs. He advocated a separate department for soldiers but why did not he force this idea upon his Congress government at the Centre”?Taking on AAP chief, Arvind Kejriwal, Sampla said, “In Delhi, farmer Gajendra Singh committed suicide during his rally. It was shocking to see that Kejriwal continued with his drama on the stage, while Gajendra hung himself from a tree nearby. How can he assure the farmers of Punjab of their well-being? He has betrayed the public of Delhi, he has failed on every front and he stands exposed. He doesn’t have even an iota of an idea about Punjab’s essence and he takes sadistic pleasure in defaming Punjabis. Those who have been accused of heinous crimes by their workers, how can they even seek votes in Punjab”?
Sampla also listed out the grants given by the Centre to Punjab government. He said, “Union Ministry of Agriculture and Famers Welfare had granted almost Rs 460 crores under the State Disaster Response Fund. Under the Soil Health Management and Soil Health Card Scheme, Modi Government has released an amount of Rs. 453.85 crores which is more than twelve times the fund allocated in the sector by the previous Congress government. To promote organic farming on a large scale, Modi Government has for the first time launched Parampragat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY) under which an amount of Rs. 1.60 crore has been released for 50 clusters. To achieve “Har Khet Ko Pani”, Modi Government launched Pradhan Manrti Krishi Sinchayi Yojna (PMKSY) under which 2674 hectare area has been brought under drip and sprinkler irrigation system during the last two years. Also, for the first time, summer maize and pulses have been promoted on large scale in Punjab. During the last two years all the districts in the state were brought under Livestock Insurance scheme and 50,000 animals were insured. Besides, a Post Graduate Institute for Horticulture Research and Education and a CIFA Centre for freshwater aquaculture have been established in Bathinda. Also, Two Agri-Business Incubation Centres and 9 Agro-Processing Centres have been established and two Food Testing Labs have been approved. 28 new varieties of field crops including Pusa Basmati 1609, Wheat WH 1142 and Soyabean Pusa 12 have been released and 38,560 quintals of quality seeds have been produced and distributed in the state.