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Punjab gives Rs 1,771-cr debt relief to farmers in four districts

twitter-logoPTI | December 7, 2018 | Updated 19:43 IST

Baran (Patiala), Dec 7 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday gave debt relief against commercial bank loans to the tune of Rs 1,771 crore to 1,09,730 eligible marginal farmers in four districts of the state. The amount is being transferred to the accounts of the marginal farmers directly and the process will be completed by Saturday, the chief minister said at a state-level function, where he handed over debt relief certificates to 25 farmers. The farmers covered in this phase belong to Patiala, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts. Addressing the function, the chief minister said that in the next phase, farmers having landholding of 2.5 to 5 acres would get debt waiver towards both cooperative and commercial bank loans. He said waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh had been given to all the marginal farmers and also the small farmers. He said cooperative bank loans worth Rs 1,815 crore of 3.18 lakh marginal farmers had been waived in the first phase, in addition to the Rs 1,771 crore commercial bank loans of 1.09 lakh marginal farmers in Friday's state-level debt relief function. He announced that as many as 2.15 lakh small farmers of cooperative banks would be covered in the third phase, while 50,752 small farmers of commercial banks would be covered in the fourth phase. Underlining the need to export sugar and potatoes to Central Asian countries, the chief minister said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include these items in the export list, which was cleared on Thursday. If the Government of India allows Punjab to export these products, sugarcane and potato farmers of the state would be immensely benefited, he added. He expressed concern about the problem of spurious seeds, agri-chemicals and other inputs that reach the farmers and said his government was maintaining a strict vigil to check sale of such products. He said that a special campaign to ensure balanced use of fertilisers had led to reduction in urea and DAP consumption by 1 lakh MT and 46,000 tonnes respectively during kharif season this year as compared to the previous year. This, he said, resulted in net saving of about Rs 200 crore. He said that a campaign was launched to educate the farmers about judicious use of agro-chemicals on basmati. As a result, the quality of basmati grain had started meeting international standards and farmers were getting better prices, he said.       This year, farmers are getting Rs 3600-4000 per quintal as against Rs 2600-3000 last year, he added. Reiterating his commitment to the seamless procurement of crops, the chief minister said his government had ensured hassle-free procurement of paddy in spite of unprecedented heavy rains at the end of September. Till now, more than 187 lakh tonnes of paddy have been procured, he said. He said the state, in collaboration with experts from Israel and Punjab Agricultural University, would lay special focus on water conservation so that this precious natural resource can be conserved. PTI VSD ABM ABM

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