Punjab's farm loan policy is of no help to lease hold cultivators

May 25, 2018 04:43 PM

Punjab News Express/Verinder Sareen
NAWANSHEHAR: Punjab government’s new policy on extending farm loans to cultivators has not gone down well with the Doaba farmers as under it now small and marginal farmers would not be able to get farm loans from cooperative banks on lands acquired by them for cultivation on lease basis. Majority of these farmers have very small land holdings and they sustain themselves by undertaking cultivation on pieces of land acquired by them from other farmers, most of whom are NRIs.

Under the new policy, the farmers would be given loans on the basis of ‘fard hakikat’ (‘fard’ showing actual share of a person in land in a joint family) only. Now they won’t be able to raise loans from cooperative banks or societies on lands taken by them on lease basis or on lands in the name of other members in the family. District president of Kirti Kisan Union Surinder Singh Bains said that in the absence of farm loans, marginal farmers whose number in Doaba region could be around 90-95 percent, could never think of undertaking any farming activities. “The new policy is nothing but to force the small farmers to leave farming practices altogether,” he said while criticising the practice of disbursing loan waiver certificates to farmers at functions as a means of humiliating them. As per Bains, farmers are also disturbed over reports of them being provided fertilisers etc on the basis of Aadhaar card in near future. “In such a situation, farmers will have to shell out entire cost of fertiliser from their own pockets first and the subsidy will be credited to their bank accounts afterwards as is being done in case of domestic LPG cylinders,” he said. Sources here in the cooperative bank said that in view of new policy, bank’s farm loans could drop to nearly Rs 125 crore from the earlier Rs 300 crore every year. District farmers are suffering on another count also. They are facing hardships in getting ‘fards’ from the patwaris as a large number of their (patwaris’) posts are lying vacant and each patwari is being made to look after the work of a large number of patwar circles. Sources said that out of nearly 18,000 farmers, nearly 15,000 are likely to be adversely affected by the new farm loan policy.

Meanwhile, loan waiver certificates worth Rs 37 crore and covering 3578 farmers were disbursed to eligible farmers at separate functions held at Jadla (Nawanshahr), Balachaur and Banga in the district today. Earlier, on April 5 at the state-level function held at Gurdaspur, 3085 district farmers had benefited to the tune of Rs 19.51 crore from the scheme.

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