The Co-operation Minister, Punjab, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa today said that the Cooperation Department would play a leading role in the strengthening of the farming sector of Punjab and all the cooperative institutions with the inclusion of the cooperative societies would be developed as the rock solid foundations for the agricultural prosperity of the state. The minister was addressing a huge gathering of farmers here today on the eve of a function to distribute debt relief certificates to the farmers hailing from Gidderbaha and Malout constituencies.Setting a new trend on the occasion, S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and MLA from Gidderbaha Mr. Amarinder Singh Raja Warring gave a chance to the farmers to express their views in a free and frank manner. The farmers presented their views and aired their issues in a constructive manner and the minister highlighted before them the steps being promulgated by the state government for resolving their problems. This session continued for half an hour.The minister in his address revealed that a total of 10 lakh farmers across Punjab would be given debt relief to the tune of Rs. 9500 crore and after the completion of the 1st phase the second one would be commencing soon. The minister further said that the previous regime only indulged in promising moon to the people whereas the present government actually acted in the interest of the farmers by implementing debt relief scheme and lifting the previous 3 crops without any hitch.
S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa exhorted the farmers to face the vicissitudes of life in a bold manner and assured them that the Punjab Government would always stand by them in their hour of need. He also announced on the occasion to re-start the closed cooperative societies and said that 3500 cooperative societies would prove to be the cornerstones for the progress of the rural belt of the state.Replying to a comment by the ex Chief Minister on the issue of farm debt, S. Randhawa challenged Mr. Parkash Singh Badal to take up the issue of farm debt before the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, if he really cares for the farmers of Punjab.Coming to the big time defaulters, the Cooperation Minister said that till now a recovery of Rs. 6.5 crore has been made. Making the stand of the present Punjab Government clear on corruption, S. Randhawa said that corrupt practices would not be tolerated at any cost nor would any kind of nepotism be tolerated. He also announced Rs. 20 lakh from his discretionary fund for the all round development of Gidderbaha. Earlier, the Deputy Speaker Mr. Ajaib Singh Bhatti said that the present government inherited badly mauled economy but still Captain Amarinder Singh government implemented debt relief scheme. On the occasion, MLA Mr. Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said that Captain Amarinder Singh understands the pain of every Punjabi. He also added that the Punjab Government has so far waived off the debt of 9404 farmers hailing from Sri Muktsar Sahib totaling Rs. 49.41 crore. He further said that the government has implemented the scheme without any discrimination and assured that no eligible farmer would be left out from deriving the benefits under the scheme.Among others present on the occasion included MLA Mr. Kulbir Singh Zira, President District Congress Mr. Gurmeet Singh Khuddian, Deputy Commissioner Mr. Sumit Jarangal, SSP Mr. Sushil Kumar, SDM Mr. Narinder Singh, Mr. Amandeep Singh Bhatti, Mr. Narinder Singh Kaouni, MD Punjab State Co-operative Bank Mr. S.K. Batish and Mr. Harcharan Singh Sotha.