The Punjab government has decided to let its MLAs hand over the farm debt relief cheques to beneficiaries instead of the already being followed process of direct money transfer in their bank account.
The decision was announced by Cooperatives Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa after a meeting of Congress MPs and MLAs from Malwa region, chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Saturday. State party chief Sunil Jakhar also attended the meeting.
The decision was reportedly taken after Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said that debt waiver scheme under which Congress government in Punjab was doling out Rs 10,000 crore, was not getting any political benefit for the party.
After Warring’s salvo, Amarinder is learnt to have asked him the reasons behind his claim. Warring told him that the waiver was being transferred to the farmer’s bank accounts directly and the local MLA was not involved. “If a farmer is handed over a cheque by an MLA, there will be a personal touch involved. MLAs are not a part of the process,” Warring is learnt to have said.
Following this, Randhawa, who was also a part of the meeting asked officials of Cooperatives Department if the waiver could be given through cheques. After this Randhawa announced that this will be done. The next waiver would be given in the form of cheques and local MLA will be involved in the process.
The next debt waiver function is being organised on January 22 in which 11,328 farmers from Bathinda district will be benefitted. It remains to be seen if cheques are to be distributed from this function only.
In the meeting the CM announced a pilot project of desalination of ground water at a cost of Rs 25 crore, having capacity of 5 million liter per day, to ensure clean potable water to the residents of southern Punjab villages. The water for desalination will be taken from 100 waterlogged villages of Fazilka and Abohar areas of southern Punjab.