Chandigarh, June 19: In order to prevent Mandsaur like situation in Punjab, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday announced that the government will waive off the loans of 8.75 lakh farmers in the state. In a series of tweets, the newly elected state Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced the government will waive off the loans of the farmers who owns less than 5 acres of agricultural land. He further announced the government will keep providing subsidy on the electricity for the agriculture. Although, he expects the farmers will give up the subsidy at their own will.

On Friday morning farmers blocked traffic near the industrial town of Phagwara near Jalandhar. There were reports of other highways being blocked by the farmers in Haryana and Punjab. The situation was worsening with each passing moments.

The loan waiver will be applicable for up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers (who own lands up to 5 acres) and a flat Rs 2 lakh relief for all other marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount, thus paving the way for eventual total waiver of agricultural debts to implement another major poll promise of the ruling party.

Making the announcements during his speech in the Punjab assembly, the Chief Minister said the move would benefit a total of 10.25 lakh farmers of the state’s 18.5 lakh farming families, including 8.75 lakh farmers having land up to 5 acres.

“The initiative would provide double the relief announced by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra,” Amarinder pointed out.

The decision is based on the interim report of an expert group, headed by eminent economist Dr T. Haque, which was tasked with suggesting ways and means to help the state’s distressed farming community.

The farmers were demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report on the agriculture sector, loan waiver for debt-ridden farmers, enhanced Minimum Support Price (MSP) on crops and acceptance of other demands. The demand for waiving off the loans gained momentum after the Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath announced its decision to waive off agricultural loans worth Rs. 30000 crore.

The lower rates in the vegetable markets, after braving a period of cash crunch during demonetisation compelled farmers to go the strike earlier this month but the situation turned violent after six farmers were killed in the alleged firing by Madhya Pradesh police in Mansour.

(With inputs from IANS)