On June 20, when Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced his government’s intention to waive crop loans of all small and marginal farmers up to a limit of Rs 2 lakh each, the farmers’ of the state cheered. However, the same farm loan waiver is facing a backlash from scores of farmers in the state, especially from the ones who are marginal and debt-ridden. A fresh case has stirred the row to a greater extent. As per a report by the Indian Express, Ajit Singh, a resident of Fazilka district in Punjab, has been granted a waiver of just Rs 3. But this is not it, the loan for which he has been given a Rs 3 waiver was never taken by Ajit, as per what he claims. Further, a loan he actually took, hasn’t been waived off by Punjab state government.
Notably, under Bhagat Puran Singh Bima Yojana during the SAD-BJP regime, a payment of Rs 3 was necessary for insurance of small farmers, and many in Ajit Singh’s village believe that only this amount has been written off in Ajit’s case.
Another case that is being cited as an anomaly in the implementation of the waiver scheme is of Gursewak Singh. As per a report by The Indian Express, Singh, Gursevak, who is the block president of the Congress in Nihal Singh Wala with his family owning nearly 10 acres, was given a loan waiver of Rs 1.94 lakh on his land and a waiver of Rs 2 lakh on his mother’s land.
In yet another recent incident, a 65-year-old farmer from Panniwala Fatta village in Lambi Assembly constituency reportedly died of cardiac arrest as he was upset because his name was not among the list of beneficiaries of the debt-waiver scheme.
Meanwhile, the Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) is alleging that influential persons are being included on priority in the beneficiary list while many marginal farmers are being left out. Last week, the BKU (Ugrahan) also staged a dharna outside the SDM’s office. As per the Union, the Congress leaders are on the first list and others are being told to wait.
AAP MLA and leader of the opposition has also reacted sharply to the accusations against the Congress party saying there is no point giving a waiver of Rs 3 or Rs 2,700. He called the scheme a big ‘flop’ and said the waivers being given in the state aren’t ‘real’.
The cutoff for the waiver kept by the state government is 5 acres, with a maximum write-off of Rs 2 lakh per beneficiary. The government has maintained the cutoff is for the individuals and not for the whole family.