Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday exhorted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept his proposal for complete waiver of farmers and farm labourers’ debt, adding the state is ready to take over its share of debt burden along with the government of India.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Channi emphasised the need to frame a Centre-State shared scheme of an appropriate ratio spread over some time with proper modalities to handle this issue and end the debt of farmers and farm labourers once and for all.
“Despite the stressed revenues of the state government, no sacrifice would be big enough than the weight of this moral obligation that we owe to farmer fraternity,” the Chief Minister wrote in a two-page letter.
Urging the Prime Minister, Channi said: “We as stakeholders are ready to commit ourselves to any new arrangement that is decided mutually between all the stakeholders.”
“I know some people will question us with economic sheets in their hands but Sir, do remember that tomorrow when neither me nor you are here then we will be judged. There will be a reckoning. It will either come from ourselves and our own conscience or it will come from our generations when they will ask that inconvenient question of what were we doing or what we did for those who fed us and for those who carried out the biggest democratic struggle of independent India.
“Let history judge us by our deeds and that, when the moment of reckoning arrived, we did not shudder with fear but boldly turned the tide,” the letter reads.
Reminding Modi about announcement of annulment of the three farm laws by him, Channi said the farmers and the government has moved a step closer to resolving some major pending issues which have taken centre stage along with the demand to repeal three farm laws.
“The foremost of course being the issue of agricultural debt.”
Channi further said very recently the leadership of farmers had met him in Chandigarh with their demands and only one major issue that remained pending at his level sans a resolution was the issue of farm debt.
“A glittering ray of hope has, however, shone after government of India’s changed stance.”
Pointing out further, the Chief Minister said the farmers of Punjab are the one who picked up the gauntlet of food security of the nation and became the bulwark of green revolution.
Striking an emotional chord, Channi said: “When they toiled on the soil, their sons defended the sensitive borders with their lives.
“Today’s India is indebted to these sons of soil. I am of the firm opinion that this great nation, which they have served for decades, now owes a moral obligation to shake its inertia and write off complete agricultural debt, including that of farm labour, till date.
“No banking or non-banking institution should knock the doors of our farmers or farm labour for recovery of agricultural loans which forms the root cause of suicides by the farmers and farm labour and stress in rural economy.”