The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked the Congress government to stop befooling farmers in the name of debt waiver and implement the comprehensive Rs 90,000 crore farm loan waiver as promised by the Congress party prior to the 2017 assembly elections.In a statement here, former minister and SAD Kisan Cell president Sikander Singh Maluka said the phony debt waiver scheme launched by the Congress government one year back had done more harm than good. He said instead of helping farmers the scheme had resulted in an increase in farm suicides and was causing misery to farmers.The SAD Kisan Cell president said independent surveys had revealed that farmers had only received a minuscule amount in the name of debt waiver. He said at the same time the farmers were now being forced to pay more to private money lenders who had increased interest rates on loans. “Bank loans have also been closed to farmers because most stopped paying interest on bank loans taken by them when the Congress announced it would implement a comprehensive Rs 90,000 crore debt waiver covering both nationalised and cooperative banks as well as private money lenders. Due to this farmers are in the worst possible state as banks have started recovery (Kurki) from them forcibly, something which had never happened earlier”.Stating that Punjab farmers were caught in a vicious cycle of debt because the Congress party had gone back on its word and betrayed them, the Kisan Cell president said the SAD would soon launch an agitation to demand complete loan waiver across the State. “We will force the deaf Congress government to listen to the voice of farmers and implement promises made to them”.Mr Maluka announced the SAD would also agitate for grant of relief package to farmers for losses incurred by them due to faulty government policies. He said the government delayed paddy transplantation which decreased yield and increase moisture content of foodgrain. He said besides loss of yield farmers were also forced to pay bribes of Rs 100 to Rs 150 per quintal to get their paddy procured. Mr Maluka said sugarcane farmers were also suffering with the government withholding Rs 400 crore due to them. “Right now potato farmers are suffering because the government has stopped procurement of potatoes by Markfed and Punjab Agro besides refusing to give subsidy on freight and cold store storage as is done by other States. We will take up all these issues and force the government to resolve the problems of the farming community”, Mr Maluka added.

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