Samyukta Samaj Morcha leader Balbir Singh Rajewal opposed the arrest of defaulter farmers and said that the AAP government has given this exemption to the cooperative institutions under section 67A to recover the loans of cooperative banks.

The Punjab government has started tightening the noose on those farmers of the state, who took loans from Agriculture Development Banks in the name of agriculture but did not return them. According to the data of the government, Rs 3200 crore is to be recovered from 71 thousand farmers of the state, for which action has been started by preparing arrest warrants against 2000 out of 60000 defaulter farmers.

This move of the government has infuriated the farmers’ organizations, while the opposition parties have also targeted the government. It is noteworthy that the state government has given exemption to cooperative banks under section 67A related to cooperative institutions for recovery of loans, that they can get the defaulting farmers arrested for recovery of loans. Meanwhile, cooperative banks in many areas of the state have also started cracking down on defaulters.

In Firozpur, a farmer in debt of 11 lakhs asked for a month’s deferment, the bank stopped the arrest, but in Jalalabad, a loanee farmer of 12 lakhs was released after arrest only when he deposited half the loan amount. Arrest warrants have been prepared for 400 farmers in Jalalabad, 200 in Gurharsahai, Fazilka and Mansa, 250 in Firozpur. 2300 crore loan outstanding on 60000 defaulter farmers. He hasn’t returned it for many years. The previous Congress government also started recovery from the defaulter farmers, but then the cooperative banks could only recover the dues of Rs 200 crore.

Farmer’s organizations warned
Samyukta Samaj Morcha leader Balbir Singh Rajewal opposed the arrest of defaulter farmers and said that the AAP government has given this exemption to the cooperative institutions under section 67A to recover the loans of cooperative banks. He said that arrests of defaulter farmers have already started at many places in the state. Farmer organizations had suspended Section 67A in Punjab during the Chief Minister of Surjit Singh Barnala, which has now been implemented again. If the government does not stop the arrest of the farmers, then their organization will not sit silent.

Government should stop issuing warrants to cooperative banks: SAD
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has urged Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to stay the issuance of arrest warrants by cooperative banks against defaulting farmers. In a press statement issued by the party, Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema said that the farmers have failed to repay their loans due to their crop failure and deteriorating financial condition.

He expressed surprise that arrest warrants have been issued for farmers in Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts for non-payment of loans taken from Punjab Agricultural Development Bank. Most of the farmers who are unable to repay the loans are from the cotton belt. Dr. Cheema made it clear that Akali Dal will not sit silent on the arrest of farmers of the state. Instead of warranting arrest, AAP should get farmers out of debt.

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