Punjab

Akali-BJP Protest: Ex-CM Badal urges farmers not to pay their loans

March 20, 2018 10:40 PM

Chandigarh, March 20, 2018: Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday urged the state's farmers not to repay their outstanding loans.

Badal was addressing an Akali-BJP rally held here as part of the both parties programme to gherao Punjab Assembly in protest against alleged failure of the state government to completely waive off farmers loans. “Captain Amarinder Singh had given you sworn affidavits stating he will give your debts. Now he must fulfill his promise,” he said.

He expressed shock and dismay stating never before had any government betrayed its people in this manner. “Many governments have implemented loan waiver schemes. The Congress government can also do it. We provided a relief of Rs 60,000 crore to farmers by reimbursing the State utility for their tubewell bills”, he added.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal condemned the lathi charge against innocent agitators who were registering their protest in a peaceful and democratic manner. “The police resorted to lathicharge without any provocation”, he added.

He complimented the Akali workers for showing courage in facing water canons used by the police. “I am profoundly grateful to everyone who came here in response to the party’s call be it farmers, dalits, backward classes representatives, angandwadi workers and thermal plant and Sewa Kendra employees,” he added.

The SAD president demanded implementation of a complete Rs 90,000 crore loan waiver of all farmers who had taken loans from nationalized and cooperative banks as well as private money lenders. "This loan waiver scheme should also be extended to farm labourers and dalits. If this is not done in the next phase of our agitation we will gherao Congress ministers to force the government to honour its complete loan waiver promise,” he said.

Earlier, a large number of Akali workers and supporters reached the rally's venue in sector 25 ground and later marched towards Punjab Assembly.

In his address, Punjab BJP president and Union Minister Vijay Sampla alleged the state government had not only exploited farmers but also the dalit community.  

Prominent Akali leaders including Sikhbir Singh Badal, Bikram Singh Majithia and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema were detained and later released by the Chandigarh police.

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