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Punjab's farmers crisis is national calamity : Badal

Written by: Staff

Chandigarh, Apr 3 (UNI) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Union Government to treat the farmers crisis in Punjab as a national calamity and set up a national emergency fund to write off the crippling agricultural loans in the state.

This must be done at the earliest as the country was faced with one of the biggest crises of all times, demanding emergency response,he said in a statement here.

''This measure would be nothing unusual as the Union Government often took such decisions in grave national crises or even cases such as that of industry declared sick,'' Mr Badal said.

Alleged that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh alone had squandered over Rs 1000 crore by waiving off loans and subsidies to favour liquor manufacturers and spurious industiralists.

Even this sum could have saved a major segment of farmers from their woeful tragedy, he added. He said the state government was spending hundreds of crores on ''publicising its non-existent achievements even as the people of the state were facing acute hardships.'' Mr Badal also demanded a sympathetic and liberal approach towards farmers' misery in the rest of the country.

The SAD leader expressed deep shock and anguish over reports of over 40,000 farmers suicides in Punjab over the past few years and the Punajb government's ''shameful attempts to conceal these painful facts from the public''.

The Akali leader expressed the apprehension that the figure could be still higher considering that most of the affected families never reported the suicides to the police for fear of social stigma and legal complications.

He said the Punjab government's decision to discontinue a relief of Rs 2.50 lakh per affected (suicide) family started by the SAD-BJP government in Punjab also spoke of a shocking insensitvity to what is admittedly a profound human tragedy stalking the countryside of the state.

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