Chandigarh, March 14 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday assured that his party will fulfill its election promise on farm debt waiver and categorically ruled out any move to withdraw free power for the agricultural sector in the state.
Addressing farmers at an event held to hand out debt-waiver certificates amounting to Rs 162.16 crore to 29,192 farmers at Nakodar town near Jalandhar, he said the Congress government was committed to implementing the promise on debt waiver made ahead of the February 2017 Assembly elections.
The number of farmer suicides had come down since the Congress returned to power, the Chief Minister said adding that there was a marked improvement in the situation, of which his government would give details during the coming Budget session of the Assembly.
The Chief Minister ruled out withdrawal of free power to farmers but warned that Punjab could end up as a desert state unless immediate corrective measures were taken to check decline in groundwater level.
He cited the example of his hometown Patiala where groundwater level had sunk from 70 feet to 700 feet in just a year.
Taking a pot-shot at Union Minister for Food Processing and Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Amarinder Singh said she did not raise her voice even though the BJP-led government at the Centre had failed to take steps in the Union Budget for the farming community's welfare.
The National Democratic Alliance government had failed to implement the Swaminathan Committee report, which was the only way to help farmers boost their incomes and bring the agriculture sector out of the doldrums, he added.