Shiromani Akali Dal asked CM Mann to stop issuing arrest warrants against farmers.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) asked Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Thursday to instruct cooperative banks to stop issuing arrest warrants against farmers who had defaulted on their loans due to deteriorating financial conditions brought on by crop failures and sharp increases in agricultural inputs.
Farmers in Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepur, and Fazilka districts have been handed arrest warrants for failing to repay loans taken from the Punjab Agricultural Development Bank, according to a statement released here by senior SAD leader Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema. He said that the majority of the defaulters were from the cotton region of the state.
Dr. Cheema urged that the arrest warrants be lifted immediately, claiming that the CM was the best knowledge about the state’s agricultural crisis and has always been a vocal opponent of the use of harsh tactics against farmers.
He added that the AAP administration should provide all feasible assistance to farmers, including ensuring that they are compensated for the failure of their wheat harvest with a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal.
‘In addition to coming up with other initiatives to reduce farm indebtedness, the government should reduce State VAT on diesel, which has seen a dramatic increase in the previous month.’
Dr. Cheema stated that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) should keep its word and free the farmers from debt rather than issuing arrest warrants to humiliate and harass them.
Three farmers committed suicide in Bathinda and Mansa districts, fearing increased indebtedness owing to low wheat crop yields, he claimed, indicating that this technique was already having a negative impact.
The SAD leader was also surprised that the AAP government had not acted quickly enough and had not made a case for comprehensive relief for Punjab farmers who had suffered a half wheat crop failure.
Dr. Cheema also urged the chief minister to get involved and persuade the federal government to transfer cash to Punjab’s cooperative and land mortgage banks.