Loan waiver will not end agrarian crisis in country: Badal

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Chandigarh, Feb 29 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today described the announcement of complete loan waiver of farmers owning less than five acres of land in the Union Budget as ''an inadequate decision taken under farmer's pressure and totally insufficient to meet the burgeoning farmer distress in the country''.

''The decision would not benefit more than 27 per cent of the farmers in the state and that too lies in the realm of uncertainty,'' he said.

On the other hand, the Punjab Congress celebrated the announcement on the farm sector, describing it as a ''bold, magnanimous and historic decision of the UPA government led by of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh''.

'Ladoos' (sweets) were distrbuted at Punjab Congress Bhavan here with Congress workers breaking into a 'bhangra' following the announcement by Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The Punjab Congress announced its decision to call off the proposed 'Black Day', which they were to organise at all district headquarter towns to protest against the anti-people policies of the SAD-BJP government.

''It is time to celebrate, we will hold the protest later on,'' state Congress chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal announced at a media conference here while claiming credit for the loan waiver.

Mrs Bhattal had led a delegation few days back to meet the Prime Minister and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with the demand to provide relief to the state farmers who were under debt. The SAD-BJP had held a massive rally in Delhi on Februry 26 to highlight the plight of the state's agrarian sector.

''Whatever little relief that has been announced through this budget, is done under the impact of the unprecedented and historic farmers rally organised by the SAD-BJP alliance,'' Mr Badal claimed in his reaction.

He said the rally had rattled the centre so much that even some central leaders, known to be cool, had used rather intemperate language against it. ''This is proof enough of how the rally has worked in favour of the farmers to the extent that the budget had to be changed at the last minute to include the farm sector,'' he claimed.


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