Chandigarh, April 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann to direct cooperative banks to stop issuing arrest warrants against farmers who had failed to repay their loans.
In a statement here, senior SAD leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema expressed shock that arrest warrants had been issued to farmers in Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts for failing to repay loans taken from the Punjab Agricultural Development Bank. He said most of defaulters were from the state’s cotton belt.
Honour your word
The AAP government must honour its word and take the farmers out of the circle of indebtedness instead of using arrest warrants to humiliate them. We won’t sit quitely if any farmer is arrested. —Daljit Cheema, SAD leader
The senior SAD leader demanded immediate withdrawal of the arrest warrants. He said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government should also extend all possible help to farmers, including ensuring they were paid a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal to compensate them for the failure of their wheat crop. “The government should also reduce state VAT on diesel which has witnessed a sharp hike during the last one month, besides coming up with other schemes to reduce farm indebtedness,” he said.
Dr Cheema made it clear the SAD would not sit quiet in the face of arrest of farmers of the state. “The Aam Aadmi Party must honour its word and take the farmers out of the circle of indebtedness instead of using arrest warrants to humiliate and harass them”. He said this tactic was already having an adverse effect with three farmers ending their lives by suicide in Bathinda and Mansa district fearing increased indebtedness due to low wheat crop yield.
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