Punjab

SAD-BJP, Cong govts responsible for shoving farm labourers into debt trap: Harpal Cheema

Punjab Tribune Bureau | July 14, 2020 08:31 PM

Insensitive governments forced farm laborers to avail loan at 20 per cent rate

AAP to come up with farm-friendly policy to settle farm loans, if voted to power in 2022

 CHANDIGARH: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab senior leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP), Harpal Singh Cheema, has blamed that the suicidal policies and bad intentions of the successive SAD-BJP and Congress governments at the centre and in the state, had increased the debt on the heads of farm laborers by 61 per cent during the last 30 years, holding them solely responsible for the same.

In a statement issued from party headquarters in Chandigarh on Tuesday, Harpal Singh Cheema said that the Congress, Akali Dal (Badal) and BJP governments had used farmers and landless poor farm laborers in the state to leverage them to their cheap vote politics and backtracking on their poll promises.

Cheema said Capt. Amarinder Singh was indulging in adding salt to injuries all sections of the society, including farmers and landless Dalit laborers by making false and frivolous claims on having fulfilled 328 out of the total 562 election promises made ahead of forming the government in 2017, saying 97 of them having partially fulfilled.

Cheema questioned Capt. Amarinder Singh to clarify how many debts waivers had been allowed to the landless dalits and farm laborers in the state. Cheema said “If Capt Amarinder Singh had been a tad sensitive about keeping his election promises, the farm laborers would not have been subjected to avail loans at an exorbitant 20 per cent rate of interest.”

The LoP, citing a study by experts, said that while farmers were forced to commit suicide due to debt liabilities on their heads, a large number of farm laborers were committing suicide, day in and day out, which was a cause of grave concern.

Cheema said that, according to the latest report available, between the year 2000 and 2018, as many as 7,300 farm laborers had committed suicides, out of which 5,765 were due to debt burden on their heads alone.

Cheema said that if the policies of the governments had been pro-agriculture and pro-farm labor, there would have been institutional provision of low interest loans for the landless farm laborers, lamenting the governments never paid heed to the needs of the farm labour, forcing them to availing loan at a whopping 20.6 rate of interest.

Harpal Cheema said that if the people of Punjab gave an opportunity to Aam Aadmi Party to form the government in 2022, it would introduce a transparent and effective policy to settle debts of farmers and farm laborers on a priority basis.

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