Bathinda: After the state government’s alleged failure to curb debt ridden farm suicides and extend complete debt waiver to the farming community, BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) today started a five-day statewide agitation.
Addressing the protesters outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here, senior vice-president of the union Jhanda Singh Jethuke and district president Shangara Singh Mann said the “pro-corporate” policies of successive governments had hit farmers hard.
They said that agriculture is the backbone of Punjab’s economy, but farmers and farm labourers are committing suicide daily. The Congress, which came to power on the promise of total debt waiver, is reneging on its commitment.
“The debt waiver for small and marginal farmers, and that too for those who owed up to Rs 2 lakh to cooperative banks, was an eyewash.” stated union leaders.
The union leaders demanded that the government should grant compensation of Rs 10 lakh, debt waiver in toto and a government job each to a family member of every debt-ridden farmer who committed suicide.
Moga: Capt’s appeal rejected
Addressing protesters outside the mini-secretariat in Moga, BKU (Ekta) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri rejected the appeal made by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to the farming community to stop the protests. The CM had claimed that the government could not afford to waive more debt at this juncture due to financial constraints.
Sangrur: Food stock for five days
BKU (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan announced During a protest in front of the Sangrur DC’s office to intensify the agitation if the state government didn’t keep its promises.
“Before the elections, the Congress promised to end ‘kurki’ (auction) of land by waiving farmers’ debt. However, land auctions are still going on, even as farmers are being befooled with a partial debt waiver,” said Ugrahan.
The union’s demands include land ownership rights to tenants, effective steps to curb crop damage by stray cattle, withdrawal of all court cases filed against farmers and labourers for debt recovery and a ban on the release of defaulters’ lists by banks.
“We have made arrangements for food for five days. We will end our protest on the evening of January 26, but after making an announcement about the course of action,” said Amrik Singh, district president of the union.