Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the Congress government had defrauded Punjab farmers and betrayed their trust by giving them a Rs 167 crore crop loan waiver after promising a comprehensive Rs 90,000 crore relief.In a statement here, the SAD president said what was shocking was that 70 per cent of small and marginal farmers of the five districts of Malwa, where the bogus scheme was rolled out today, had been made ineligible for the same. "The entire exercise is riddled with favouritism with Congress legislators and Halqa incharges making the lists at their residences which kept most genuine beneficiaries out of its purview".Speaking about the paltry waiver today, the SAD president said this too had been achieved by taxing farmers. He said the government had imposed one per cent cess on wheat and paddy besides increasing the market fee. "A loan has been taken by pledging this tax income". He said this besides weakening state institutions had also made foodgrains in Punjab more expensive then their counterparts in neighbouring States. "This is in stark contrast to the SAD-BJP government headed by S Parkash Singh Badal which waived tubewell bills worth Rs 6,000 crore per annum for ten years resulting in a Rs 60,000 crore waiver. "Each farmer got a relief of more than Rs 60,000 per year".
Asking why the Congress governing why it was playing a hoax on farmers, the SAD president said Capt Amarinder had promised a Rs 90,000 crore waiver covering all loans taken from cooperative and nationalised banks as well as private money lenders. "Instead of fulfilling this promise, indebted farmers are being insulted by pasting their names in villages. They have not got refund of interest on their loans. Small and marginal farmers are the worst sufferers. Farm labourers have been kept out completely".Speaking about the patchwork being done to repair roads, which was also being done by taxing farmers, Mr Badal said it was shocking that the government was announcing this with full page advertisements. "Mr Charanjit Channi's statement as CLP leader in the Vidhan Sabha that the previous Congress government only did patchwork of roads during its 2002-07 tenure seems to be extending to this government also. The government is reneging on each and every promise and has even withheld social welfare benefits like aata daal scheme, shagun scheme, old age scheme and the unique medical insurance scheme under which farmers were given cashless medical treatment of Rs 50,000 per annum during SAD- BJP tenure".Mr Badal said the SAD would approach Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore shortly and enjoin him to direct the government to implement the comprehensive waiver promised by it.