The issue of farm loan debt waiver among other demands is yet again in the spotlight as the farmer outfits across the State led by Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Smiti, an outfit that was at forefront of farmers’ year-long agitation against farm laws on September 12 picketed outside residences of Minister and MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Sarvan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Punjab unit of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee said that farmers staged sit-in protests outside residences of Ministers and MLAs in 31 different places across 16 districts of the State.
“Our key demands include one-time farm loan waiver, urgent steps for saving fast depleting groundwater water and pollution in rivers, policy ensuring remunerative prices for all crops, etc,” said Mr. Pandher.
“The government should work on a policy to make farming profitable, for which announcing and purchasing crops at Minimum Support Price (MSP) is the first important step that needs to be taken by the government. Farmers’ suicides across the State are only rising, the government should waive all outstanding loans, whether private or government loans against the farmers and labourers,” he said.
A recent study surrounding farmers’ suicide in Punjab by Ludhiana-based Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) revealed that in six districts of the State as many as 9,291 farmers have died by suicide between the year 2000-2018 and around 88% of the suicide cases were a fallout of farm-related debts.
Mr. Pandher alleged that the State government was not giving any attention to solving real issues of the State. “The Punjab government should make a law that guarantees MSP. Also, immediate compensation and treatment should be arranged for the owners, whose animals have died due to lumpy skin disease,” he said.