Punjab Congress against withdrawl of farm subsidies

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Chandigarh, Feb 14 (UNI) Expressing grave concern at the recent signals of dispensing away with free farm power by the SAD-BJP Government, the Punjab Congress has warned that such a step shall be detrimental to the interests of farm economy and the agriculture sector at large.

The Congress Party has taken serious note of the under-currents in the state finance department and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) exerting pressure on the Government for the withdrawal of subsidies to the farmers.

Punjab Congress Spokesman and former Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang today said, "The party feels that such move will further deepen the crisis in the farm sector and already debt-ridden poor, small and marginal farmers would be the worst hit by this unfortunate hasty move." He said that Punjab Congress would oppose this move of the SAD-BJP Government vehemently.

"SAD-BJP are playing dual policy, as on one hand they are making lot of hue and cry over waiver of farm loans by the Central Government and on the other they are contemplating withdrawal of subsidies to them, which can be disastrous," he lamented.

Mr Kang stressed that under the prevailing circumstances the subsidies can not be done away with just one stroke. "We have to find out ways and means to compensate the poor farmers, as price of their produce had not increased proportionately. The compensation for farmers by one way or the other is necessitated due to consideration of the interests of the common man who has to be provided relief against the soaring prices".

"Instead of withdrawing the subsidies on power, the Government should plug the existing loop-holes and gear-up the existing revenue collection system by efficient administration and adopting austerity measures." He averred that withdrawal of subsidies would further hit the already low agricultural growth rate of the state which stands at two per cent against the National figure of three per cent.

He called upon the state government to announce special relief package for the farmers in addition to the debt-relief package being given by the Centre.

UNI PS BP1808

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