Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, May 27
Opposing freebies to the agricultural sector, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today said waiving power bills and farmers’ loans for votes was a dangerous trend.
Punjab Agriculture Minister Tota Singh was present at the function organised at PAU for a feedback on various Central schemes launched for the farm sector.
Punjab has been giving free power to farmers since long. A few days back, Jayalalithaa, soon after taking oath as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for the second time in a row, waived coop loans to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore. Even Akali MP Prem Singh Chandumajra had recently urged the Centre to waive farmers’ loans across the country to halt farm suicides.
The Union Minister said the rural job guarantee scheme had been drastically improved by the Modi government. “It is a matter of concern that even after six decades of Independence, the country has to frame schemes such as MGNREGA”, he said, an obvious attack on the UPA.
“As the soil has turned toxic, the Centre has decided to issue soil health cards to the farmers by March 2017,” he said.
The Minister was late by more than an hour, which made the farmers restive. Explaining the delay, Singh said, “Sasuraal nahi gye tha, karyakram mein tha.”
An agitated farmer from Amritsar, Inderjeet Singh, demanded that he be heard. He was taken away into a corner and asked to write down his query even as the PAU authorities and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra introduced three farmers to the Minister. They showered praise on PAU and the government.
There was a commotion as Singh returned without hearing the problems of farmers. Some raised their hands to ask questions, but were ignored. At this, a few entered into an argument with Vice-Chancellor Dr BS Dhillon. “This is not the way to interact with a Minister," he said.
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