September 22, 2021 7:11:49 am
With Charanjit Singh Channi taking charge as new chief minister of Punjab, organisations representing the SC population state have become active, staging dharnas and sending out their demands to the new dispensation.
This time women have taken the lead over men in staging dharnas. On Tuesday, women’s wing of Zamin Prapati Sangrash Committee ( ZPSC) staged a series of dharnas. Paramjeet Kaur Longowal, general secretary of ZPSC, said, “The new CM should devote ample time and listen to our demands. In 1952 and 1972 land reforms were done but still the majority of land in villages is with one particular caste. The SCs make for nearly 32% population in Punjab but still don’t posses more than 2% of the total area under agriculture. Anyone having more than 17 acres in individual land holdings comes under the Land Sealing Act. Such land needs to be distributed among the the landless. However, it is hardly implemented because of which the gap between farm labourers and landlords is increasing in villages”.
Raj Kaur, one of the leaders of the ZPSC from Sangrur, said, “Women in SC families are landless and in order to get their emergency needs fulfilled, end up taking loans from microfinance companies that charge heavy rate of interest. Women are not able to pay back these loans and remain under in continuous stress. This issue should be taken up at the government level. The government should listen the woes of SC women and waive off loans”.
Shinder Kaur from Sherpur area of Sangrur said, “As most SCs are landless, they don’t get loans from banks. So, we are in a never ending cobweb of taking loans from microfinance companies at heavy interests”.
On Monday, when Channi took oath as the new CM of Punjab, women under the banner of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha organised a protest march in Mansa seeking waiver of loans taken from microfinance companies. Bhagwant Samao, president of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha said, “Rs 590 crore loan waiver of farm labourers has been announced by Punjab Government. It is the loan taken from cooperative societies. But there is no mention about loans taken from microfinance companies, which has mostly been taken by women ( landless) living in urban as well as rural areas. We have been raising this issue since long but now that a new CM has taken over, we are trying to tell our problems to him. We hope that he will listen to the women”.
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