M A I N   N E W S

Capt hints at debt waiver for farmers
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Lambi, December 17
Coming to the rescue of Punjab’s debt-ridden farming community, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced that the state government was working on a solution to bring out the state’s farmers from the vicious circle of debt.

However, he did not disclose whether their debts would be waived and said he would unveil the plan after it was placed before the Cabinet for final approval.

He stated this while addressing a press conference here minutes after addressing the party’s first electoral rally.

Though the Chief Minister was enthused with the recent ORG-MARG survey on the ruling party’s poll prospects, he denied any intention to go in for early Assembly elections. On the survey’s finding on corruption, he admitted that corruption still prevailed at cutting edge and added that the government would strongly pursue corruption cases through Vigilance and the proposed fast-track courts.

Asked about the gaps in projection and outcome in the agency’s 2002 survey, he said it was one of the top survey agencies and it had a reputation to project.

On Haryana Assembly’s resolution for a separate high court, he said: “The HC at Chandigarh was always ours and Haryana people are welcome to seek a separate high court.”

Earlier, addressing a mammoth rally on SAD president Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s home turf, he said he would soon put the father-son duo behind bars “for amassing Rs 3,500 crore through corruption”.

He said their case would come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on January 10 and it would probably be referred back to the state’s court. He said the process of forming fast-track courts was already on, which would help speed up trial in corruption cases.

“If Mr Badal and his son were innocent, then why did they move the high court and then the Supreme Court where they hired a battery of lawyers to fight their case,” he asked.

He accused the Badals of looting poor people of the state and said he would recover every single penny that they had usurped through corruption. He accused the Badal family of serving its own interests and ignoring development works in their area. He said the Akali Dal came into being after a lot of sacrifices in the 1920s, but today’s Akali Dal was nothing but a “bunch of looters”.

He said an investment of Rs 27,700 crore was on its way, which would change the face of the state and generate 4.5 lakh employment opportunities. He said industrialisation was the need of the hour, as fragmentation of landholdings had hit the farming community hard and a majority of the youths today were unemployed.

The Chief Minister also lashed out at the SGPC for destroying originality of gurdwaras. “They should see how Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib have been preserved in the original form,” he said.

The PPCC president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, termed it a historic day in Punjab’s politics and said a strong gathering at the rally clearly reflected people’s intent.

Others present on the occasion included Power Minister Lal Singh, PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa, Animal Husbandry Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, Revenue Minister A.S. Samra, Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar and Minister of State for Forests Hansraj Joshan. However, Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and AICC general secretary Ambika Soni could not make it due to their engagements in New Delhi.


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