State owes close to Rs 14,000 crore to farmers for paddy procured by them since October 15.
Chandigarh: Congress on Friday blamed the “ill-timed” demonetisation for distress to Punjab farmers whose pending payments totaled up to Rs 14,000 crore. In a memorandum submitted to Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar said the farmers are in distress following the “economic anarchy in Punjab due to non-payment of dues and stoppage of operations of Cooperative banks”.
The government of Punjab, through its procurement agencies, owe close to Rs 14,000 crore to farmers for paddy procured by them since October 15. “As pointed out by CAG, Akali Dal-BJP government in its last nine years have embezzled and misappropriated food stocks worth Rs 31,000 crore, and Congress believes the consortium banks, as a measure of abundant precaution, are not releasing payment to the procurement agencies,” mentioned the memorandum.
Expressing apprehension that “an attempt was being made to convert this loot into loan by state government”, Congress leaders pointed out that the move will result in huge escalation in public debt. “Cash crunch due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has created economic anarchy and, in Punjab, it is further aggravated by stopping banking operations of Cooperative banks,” the memorandum further said.
Leaders said agrarian operations were lagging behind by up to 30 per cent. Seeking immediate release of payments for farmers, Jakhar said the situation is a conspiracy against the cooperative movement in the state.
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