Rampura (Sangrur), Apr 12 (PTI) The Punjab government today distributed debt relief certificates worth Rs 485.69 crore to 73,748 farmers of six districts at a major event here.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal handed over debt waiver certificates to 14 farmers, as a token gesture, in the presence of his cabinet colleagues, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister Razia Sultana and Forests and Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot.

Gurdaspur MP and PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, former Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur and former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal were also present at the event, which Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was forced to give a miss due to a last-minute glitch in his chopper.

Following the change in plan, the Chief Minister tweeted his regrets at not being personally present on the occasion, and reiterated his personal commitment to upholding the interests of the farming community.

While Bajwa announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for the upgradation of Rampura Sports Stadium, Manpreet said the Chief Minister had personally directed him to examine all the demands raised by local MLA Vijay Inder Singla, including that for a Trauma Centre at Bhawanigarh Hospital and a Medical College for Sangrur.

Farmers from the districts of Sangrur, Barnala, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, SAS Nagar and Rupnagar were the beneficiaries in this phase of the implementation of the farm debt waiver scheme.

Addressing the gathering, Manpreet Singh Badal lashed out at the Akali leadership for allegedly trying to tarnish the image of the Congress government through false propaganda after failing to do anything for the farmers during their 10-year rule.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.