TO REMIND the state government about the farm loan waiver promise, eight farmer unions on Monday staged dharnas at 16 places in Punjab. They also showed solidarity with the agitating farmers of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. While the unions pointed out that the Congress’s slogan was “Karja kurki khatam, fasal di poori rakam (Debt and kurki to go away, full payment of all crops),” Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar said the state would “cut its coat according to our cloth”.
Asked if the loan waiver by UP and Maharashtra had raised the bar for Punjab, Jakhar said, “It is the other way round. After we promised the debt waiver in our poll manifesto, other states started waiving debts.” The Captain Amarinder Singh government is likely to make an announcement during the budget session of the Assembly that begins on June 14. But farmers’ organisations and opposition parties are sceptical about the extent of the waiver and demand that loans from private money lenders should also be written off.
Shingaara Singh Mann, President of BKU (Ugrahan), Bathinda unit, said, “The Congress government is silent on debt waiver, which was their main slogan before the polls.” The unions said if their demands were not fulfilled, they would plan the next course of action on July 7 by organising a convention in Jalandhar.Dharnas were organised in areas including Ludhiana, Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Muktsar and Amritsar.