Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today appealed to the debt-ridden farmers in the state not to commit suicide and assured them that the government was working on fulfilling its poll promise of debt waiver. Asserting that there would not be any ‘kurki’ – auction of mortgaged land of farmers, he wondered whether the government’s message of debt waiver was reaching the farming community.
“Last month, 21 farmers committed suicides. Don’t take such steps,” Amaridner told farmers, adding “we are here for you and we have made a promise (debt waiver) in this regard.”
“The way they (farmers) commit suicides..I don’t understand this scenario,” the chief minister, who was addressing a gathering during an interactive session of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, said.
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He said the government has already set up an expert group led by T Haque, former chairman of commission for agricultural costs and prices, to assess the quantum of agricultural debt of farmers in the state and suggest way and means for its waiver.
“I have already made it clear that their will be no kurki. We are working on farm debt issue which we had already said. It seems this message is not reaching farmers,” he said.
Amarinder said the group has been asked to submit its report to the government within 60 days.
Before coming to power in the state, the Congress in its election manifesto had promised debt waiver to farmers.
“Karza-kurki khatam (eliminate loan and auction), fasal di poori rakam’ (complete payment of crops)” was the popular campaign slogan of the party.
Amarinder had earlier announced that the ‘kurki’ (auction) clause under Section 67A of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act 1961 would go, saying he was committed to implementing every single promise made in the Congress election manifesto for Punjab.