Farmers block road, demand debt waiver

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Newly-elected Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh in Sector 10 of Chandigarh on Monday, May 26 2014. Express photo by Sumit Malhotra

Amritsar, August 11

Accusing the Congress-led state government, headed by Capt Amarinder Singh, of dragging its feet over farm loan waiver, farmers in large numbers held a massive protest here today.Thousands of farmers and farm labourers, including women, from Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Pathankot participated in the rally organised at Jandiala Guru grain market. They blocked the national highway for around half an hour.Dr Satnam Singh Ajnala, state president of Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, and Gurnam Singh Dawood, state general secretary of Dehati Mazdoor Sabha, said the Centre as well as the state government had kept farm labourers out of their schemes. Farm labourers are missing from the Punjab government’s scheme on farmers’ debt waiver, they said, demanding land allotment for landless labourers.Lal Chand and Amrik Singh Dawood of Dehati Mazdoor Sabha said inflation was skyrocketing due to neo-liberalism and capitalist polices of the Centre and the state. Inflation and unemployment has made it tough for poor people to make their both ends meet. Food grains at subsidised rates should be made available at ration depots and old age pension should be hiked to Rs 3,000 per month besides allocation of 10-marla land and Rs 5 lakh grant for construction of houses for landless families, they said.Leaders Rattan Singh Randhawa and Pargat Singh Jamarai said the government should implement MS Swaminathan recommendations. “If the government at the Centre can waive off huge debts of corporate houses, then why not for farmers,” they said.The protesters threatened to intensify their stirFarmer and labor organisations threatened to launch massive and intensified stir against the government if it failed to fulfil their genuine demands soon.

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