Congress demands loan waiver for farmers in Uttarakhand
Dehradun: The Congress on Wednesday created an uproar in Uttarakhand Assembly demanding a loan waiver for farmers on the lines of Uttar Pradesh, saying if it was not done it would be a breach of a pre-poll promise made by the prime minister.
The opposition Congress’ members insisted on a debate in the House on the condition of farmers and a commitment from the state government on when it will give a loan waiver. The slogan-shouting members also walked into the Well of the House several times and forced two adjournments which together lasted for 45 minutes.
Leader of Opposition Indira Hridayesh, who had given a notice for a discussion on the issue under rule 310, said if Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath could announce a loan waiver for farmers at the very first meeting of his Cabinet why can’t the same be done for farmers in Uttarakhand. “You got a massive mandate in both the states then why is there a discrimination against Uttarakhand,” she said.
Speaker Prem Chandra Aggarwal said though the farmers’ issue was important it could not be debated under rule 310 at the cost of the Question Hour. The Congress members then walked into the Well shouting slogans and alleged that the state government was “anti-farmer”.
When the opposition MLAs refused to budge despite two adjournments, the speaker relented and permitted a discussion on the admissibility of the notice in the House. Initiating the discussion on the admissibility of her notice, Hridayesh said the prime minister had made a promise to the farmers that their loans would be waived off and they would get correct price for their agricultural produce.
“But farmers in different parts of the country continue to be in a bad shape. They are committing suicide and are being fired upon,” she claimed, referring to the police firing on protesting farmers in Mandsaur. “Farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have been given a loan waiver. I think the voice of a small state like Uttarakhand is being suppressed,” she said.
Congress MLA Harish Dhami attacked Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat for ruling out a loan waiver to farmers in Uttarakhand, citing paucity of resources at the state’s disposal. Hridayesh chipped in saying the Centre should extend a helping hand to states which are short of resources and can ill-afford a loan waiver to farmers, including Uttarakhand.
“If they don’t give a loan waiver to farmers it will be tantamount to belying a pre-poll promise by the prime minister,” she claimed. Speaking against the admissibility of the opposition’s notice on behalf of the state government, Finance Minister Prakash Pant said the government was sensitive to farmers’ problems and efforts were underway to address them expeditiously.
“We have a mandate for five years to fulfil all promises made in our vision document,” Pant said. The opposition members staged a walkout as its demand for a discussion on the issue under rule 310 was rejected by the speaker.