Amarinder orders release of pending tubewell connections to farmers
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Chandigarh, Sep 21 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday ordered the release of the pending tubewell connections to farmers who had already made payments.
He has set a deadline for November 15, 2018, for the same.
The directive came during a meeting with representatives of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharash Committee here, according to an official spokesperson.
The chief minister has directed the chairman of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited to ensure adherence to the November 15 deadline and issue necessary directions to the field staff across the state for strict compliance.
The chairman Powercom assured the chief minister that the nearly 7,000 pending tubewell connections would be released within the stipulated timeframe, said the spokesperson.
Responding to another demand of the committee, the chief minister asked the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Agriculture to ensure that the farmers get the subsidised agri-implements/equipment before October 15 for in-situ management of paddy stubble in order to avoid stubble burning.
The chief minister was informed by the officer that of the total 24,000 agri-implements/equipment, nearly 8,000 had been distributed amongst the farmers, cooperative societies and custom hiring centres so far in the state.
He said that the agriculture department was fully geared up to complete the task of distribution of these implements.
The chief minister also appealed to the farmers to make use of subsidised agri-machinery effectively to avoid stubble burning, thereby ensuring health and hygiene of the people besides preserving the environment of the state.
The meeting was informed that the Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed in the recently concluded Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, according to which the government would notify the maximum amount of debt that can be advanced by creditors to the debtors on per acre basis.
The government has already notified five Divisional Debt Settlement Forums headed by the Divisional Commissioner as per the provisions of the Act.
"The previous SAD-BJP government had enacted the Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness Act, 2016, which had several legal infirmities and technical flaws, detrimental to the interests of the farmers. The amended law addresses the flaws and would go a long way in mitigating the hardships faced by the farmers on account of money lending," the spokesperson said.
The chief minister informed the committee that relief amounting to Rs 1,765 crore had already been disbursed through direct benefit transfer to loan accounts of marginal farmers of cooperative banks, and relief was now being disbursed to marginal farmers of commercial banks.
Over 3.07 lakh farmers have already been provided relief and the entire process would be completed by the end of this year. In all, over 10 lakh small and marginal farmers would benefit from the Debt Relief Scheme, he said.
Acceding to a demand, Amarinder Singh asked the principal secretary power to examine the feasibility of sending power bills to consumers on a monthly basis instead of the existing time-frame of two months, especially in the rural areas.
The chief minister informed the committee members that the government had already launched a crackdown against those indulging in adulteration and supply of spurious food items, milk and dairy products in Punjab.
On the issue of new agriculture policy, the Chief Minister said the state government was all set to unveil its pro-farmer agriculture policy. PTI SUN MKJ
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