Farmers flay UPA government for dragging its feet on farm loan waiver issue

May 10th, 2008 - 10:43 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 10 (ANI): Farmers took out a rally in New Delhi on Saturday and threaten to court arrest. They also voiced their anguish over the government’s inability to adhere to its promise of loan waiver.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram proposed a waiver of rupees 600 billion of bank loans to farmers, in the fiscal year 2008-09.

The farmers accuse the ruling Central government of making false promises in order to garner votes for winning elections.

The agitating farmers also made it clear to Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister that they will not allow the construction of the Ganga Expressway.

The 1,000 kilometres Ballia- Noida Ganga Expressway Project in Uttar Pradesh affects the interests of the farmers affected by the project.

“Today we have gathered here to urge the President to dismiss the UPA government. It has neither waived off farmers’ loans, nor has it solved the farmers woes. It has made false promises to garner votes and to secure their position in politics. We have assembled here to court arrest. We will not allow the construction of the Ganga Expressway on farmlands,” said Rishi Pal, President, National Farmer Union.

The farmers have demanded that the government submit a circular in every state indicating the extent of the loan waiver failing which, they have threatened to go on a nation-wide transport strike on May 25.

Chidambaram had said that the loan write-off would be completed by June 30, with 500 billion rupees going toward farmers holding upto two hectares of land.

For bigger farmers, the budget proposed a waiver of 100 billion rupees as a one-time settlement, provided the farmers repaid 75 per cent of their loan that was overdue on December 31, 2007.

The agricultural loans given by public sector banks and financial institutions will be waived to help small and marginal farmers.

Ever since the presentation of the budget, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been accusing the Congress of announcing populist measures and sidelining the interests of the economy in general.

Agriculture in India continues to be highly labour intensive and supports nearly 60 per cent of the one billion-plus population but constitutes only 20 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy. (ANI)

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