After Congress’s “Karza kurki Khatam, Fasal di Puri Rakam”, a farmers’ outreach programme under which Congress got filled “mangpatra’ (debt-waiver forms) from debt-ridden farmers in Punjab, Aam Adami Party (AAP) is going a step ahead to also include “farm labourers” in its 10-day mass contact programme starting October 29. “We will focus both on farm labourers as well as farmers in which they will be educated how they will be made debt-free by AAP by December 2018,” AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said, adding that there is a large number of farm labourers in Punjab who are under debt.
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AAP leaders said their mass contact programme was quite different from the Congress’s ongoing programme. “We are committed to waive off the loan by December 2018. The Congress is just saying in its campaign that they are in favour of ‘debt waiver’ for farmers, but there is no commitment,” they said.
Tarsem Peter, the leader of Punjab Pendu Mazdoor Union, said all parties were taking about farmer suicides and no one was about suicides by farm labourers, who do not even get any compensation like farmers.
Citing a study by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), sources said of the total farming related suicide cases in the state, nearly 40 per cent who ended life were farm labourers.
State’s Agriculture Minister Totasss Singh said both Congress and AAP had been misleading the farmers. “They do not have any means and ways to waive off the debt of farmers. They should tell the people which ‘magical stick’ they will evolve to do this,” he said.