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Chief minister Amarinder Singh reiterated his government’s resolve to continue free power to agriculture and accused the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of spreading canards to mislead people. The chief minister was speaking at a debt waiver function organised in Nakodar town of Jalandhar district on Wednesday. On the occasion, he distributed debt waiver certificates worth Rs 162 crore among 29,192 farmers of five districts of Punjab.
Underlining the looming problem of water crisis, especially the severe depletion of groundwater, he said his government had only provided meters to 900 of the 13.5 lakh tubewells in Punjab as part of a research project. The move was aimed at saving groundwater while ensuring that farmers also get an incentive in the form of cash for their personal use, he said.
Explaining the project further, Amarinder said if a farmer was given Rs 10,000 for power consumption of his tubewell and he ended up spending Rs 7,000, the remaining amount would go into his pocket and he would also contribute to saving the declining groundwater level in the state. “This would save both water and power and also benefit the farmer but the Akalis have been spreading canards among farmers when they themselves failed to address the issue of depleting underground water table or improving the lot of farmers,” he said.
He said Punjab had abundant water 50 years ago but if the current cropping patterns and other practices related to use of water continued, the state would turn into a desert. Stating that new agriculture policy would be announced soon, he said Punjab needed to have new crops.
The CM also attacked BJP for not implementing Swaminathan commission report on fair prices for crops as promised by the ruling party at the Centre. “This report should be implemented in totality,” he said. Amarinder also questioned Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s silence when BJP-led government in Delhi was failing the farmers of the country.
Farmers from districts of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Fazilka and Ferozepur had converged here for the function held at grain market to get their loan waiver certificates.
Describing the distribution of certificates as part of the fulfilment of Congress’s poll promise, Amarinder assured the he was totally committed to implementing the promise of debt waiver. “Things are improving, the number of suicides has come down since the Congress took over,” he claimed.
Speaking on the occasion, he also raised the issue of Akalis purchasing buses in BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh. He said Akalis had started purchasing and plying new buses in Himachal after the BJP took the reigns in the neighbouring state.
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