The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today lambasted the Congress government for playing fraud with Punjab farmers and pushing them towards further ruin and suicide by denying loan waiver to them. “Like every promise of the Congress party, the Rs 90,000 loan waiver promise made by Capt Amarinder Singh which was to encompass all farmers who had taken loans from cooperative, national and private money lenders, has been whittled down to a piddly sum and now primarily covers farmers who have taken crop loans”, said former minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a statement here.Terming the latest government move as akin to neglecting a festering wound to treat a scratch, the Akali leader said money from the State exchequer would now be spent on waiving crop loans of up to Rs two lakh and not achieve any objective. He said crop loans have a traditional recovery percentage of 95 per cent and the government has never impounded properties of farmers to realise them since 1986 as disclosed by the chief minister himself while replying to a question in the last Vidhan Sabha session. "This means the government is proposing to conduct a farce in the name of implementing a crop loan scheme from January next month which if implemented will not cover the real beneficiaries for which it was devised".
Asserting that the government was running away from its promise and abandoning farmers who were in utmost urgent need of the loan waiver, Mr Majithia said small farmers who had availed a loan of over Rs two lakh had been made ineligible for the waiver scheme. “It is these farmers who are committing suicide in hundreds after being unable to repay loans taken from national banks and private money lenders”, he said saying it was unthinkable that they could be left out from any genuine loan waiver scheme.Similarly, the former minister said marginal farmers had also been left out in the cold while finalizing the proposed crop loan waiver scheme. "This proves farmers were used as a vote bank and the Congress party befooled them by making them fill forms for a complete loan waiver which it is now refusing to implement". Terming the entire exercise as a farce which was being enacted to give the impression that the government was implementing a loan waiver, when nothing of this sort was being done, the Akali leader said farmers would not get justice until the government accepted that loans of national banks and private money lenders needed to be waived off completely. Asserting that the farming community would never accept this injustice, he said the manner in which the government had backstabbed farmers by announcing repeated loan waivers and now come up with a farce in the loan waiver indicated it never had any intention of honouring its promise in the first place. The SAD will also fight this tooth and nail and not let the Congress government to get away with this cruel and inhuman decision at any cost”, he added. EOM