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Posted at: Feb 12, 2019, 11:31 AM; last updated: Feb 13, 2019, 6:49 AM (IST)

Farmer suicides stir up storm at Punjab Assembly

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 12

Punjab's Budget Session began on a stormy note on Tuesday, as opposition SAD-BJP alliance joined farmers to protest against Amarinder Singh's government as agrarian distress deepens in the state. 

Amid walkouts and protests from the opposition alliance, Governor VP Singh Badnore blamed Punjab’s current financial crisis on the previous Badal government. Badnore claimed financial “imprudence” and “reckless” spending  by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's government had plunged the state in deep debt.   

“Government’s facing severe financial constraints because of financial imprudence of the previous government. They spent public money recklessly without caring for possible revenue receipts of the state. They had left the state with an outstanding liability of Rs 13,039 crore in March 2017. The state has slipped down the ladder in its ranking in per capita income from third in 2008-2009 to 10th in 2016-2017,” he said, as opposition SAD-BJP alliance erupted in protest.  

Meanwhile, families of indebted farmers who killed themselves marched to the assembly on Tuesday to demand that the state government fulfill its election promises of debt waiver.  


2:52 pm: AAP MLAs Aman Arora and Budh Ram address the press on inflated electricity bills being issued in Punjab. They said even those allowed free electricity are being issued bills. 

2:09 pm: AAP demands inclusion of farmers who committed suicides in the obituary references.

2:08 pm: Mohan Singh Bains, father of Lok Insaf Party MLAs Simarjit Singh and Balwinder Singh Bains, also included in the obituary references

2:03 pm: Former CM Parkash Singh Badal present in the House.


2:02 pm: Afternoon session begins with the House paying obituary references. These include former union defence minister George Fernandes, former Akali minister Gobind Kanjla and others. 

1:39 pm: Government plans a series of programmes in connection with centenary of Jallianwala massacre: Punjab govt

1:38 pm: Government will spare no effort to make Kartarpur corridor operational on the Gurpurb that falls on November 12 this year: Punjab govt

1:36 pm: The government has introduced e-registration of sale deeds: Punjab govt

1:24 pm: Till December 2018, a total of224 fluoride and arsenic affected habituation have been provided with safe drinking water through arsenic removal plants (88) and reverse osmosis plants (136): Punjab govt 

1:22 pm: The state has constructed 4.99 lakh toilets at a cost of Rs 722 crore during last two years

1:21 pm: Ruling party could extend budget session by a day.  Final call to be taken in the Business Advisory Committee meeting that will be held after the obituary references.

1:20 pm: The state government generated 415 lakh man-days of rural employment under MNREGA during 2017-2019. This was 38 per cent more than in the corresponding period during previous two years: Punjab govt

1:19 pm: As many as 4.58 lakh new power connections were given during last two years: Punjab govt 

1:18 pm: All 14 lakh tubewells in the state continue to get free power at an expected annual subsidy of Rs 6250 crore. The government also continues to provide 200 free units of electricity to SC, BPL and BC families: Punjab govt

1:16 pm: State government has raised reservation of woman in urban local bodies from 30 per cent to 50 per cent: Punjab govt

1:14 pm: Punjab has achieved Open Defecation Free goal in all 167 urban local bodies of the state. Punjab ranked number one in north zone states under Swachh Survekshan 2018: Punjab govt

1:11 pm: Under e-governance, civic bodies are offering services such as online applications for water connections and online payment of property tax and online sanction of building plans: Punjab govt

1:12 pm: The state has established a directorate of fire services to regulate and supervise 34 offices of Fire brigades in 10 municipal corporation towns: Punjab govt

1:09 pm: The government is providing assistance of Rs 1.5 lakh for treatment of cancer. Rs 118 crore were allocated for the programme last year: Punjab Govt

1:08 pm: Punjab Government proposes a state cancer institute at the Government Medical College, Amritsar, at a cost of Ra 120 crore. The institute is likely to be completed by December 2020.

1:07 pm: The Punjab State Food Safety Laboratory has been upgraded with modern and high quality testing equipment with an expenditure of Rs 15 crore.

1:05 pm: Punjab announces health insurance scheme called ‘Sarbat Sehaj Bima Yojna’ to cover 42 lakh families. 

12:05 pm: Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal joins protest.

12:04 pm: Son of a farmer who killed himself and had accused Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of not fulfilling his promise of debt waiver, reads his father’s suicide note in the assembly. He says nothing has been done to mitigate their woes even now. “Sannu jhothe laare laye si sarkar ne (The government had us false promises),” he says as he breaks down.

12:02 pm: Families of farmer who committed suicide because of indebtedness narrate their tale of woes.

12:01 pm: Governor ends his 55 minute speech, leaves the House.
12:00 pm: The governor said that not only the teachers the grievances of all employees of the state are receiving full attention of the government.

11:56 am: Government is seriously concerned about woes of teachers and it shall take all possible measures to redress their grievances: Guv

11:55 am: Government pursuing implementation of 'Padho Punjab Padhao Punjab'. Under the programme 70 per cent students have achieved the learning targets: Guv

11:54 am: Started pre-primary classes for children in the age group of 3-6 years in 12,921 government schools and enrolment of 1.73 lakh children. Introduced English as the medium of instruction in  2,387 schools: Guv

11:53 am: 261 secondary schools have been made Smart Schools and 2524 government primary schools have been transformed through active support of civil society

11:50 am: 28,000 residue management machines have been given to farmers.

11:49 am: Under karza Kurku khatam farm debt relief scheme notified in October 2017 as many as 5.83 lakh small and marginal farmers have been provided debt relief so far. The remaining 10.25 lakh farmers will be provided their due benefit under the scheme shortly. Government has paid Rs 1,00,235 crore in four previous crops as against Rs 77,984 crore paid to farmers during 2015-2016 and 2016-2017: Guv

11:48 am: One of the constraints faced by the government in providing quicker employment to the youth was lacking requisite skills and resultant employability: Guv

11:45 am: Government has successfully implemented GST in the state during the last two years despite repeated changes in the GAT laws enacted by the centre. Punjab was first to waive state GST on langar at Harimandar Sahib: Guv

11:40 am: Government has frozen variable electricity tariffs for industry at Rs 5 per unit State’s power subsidy to industries was about Ra 1,500 crore in the previous year: Guv

11:38 am: Some major business projects associated with industry that have been initiated included Hi Tech Cycle Valley at Ludhiana, a new international standard Technology University at Mohali, a new 500 acre business park at Rajpura, substantial expansion of Bathinda refinery, a food park at Ludhiana and paper mills at Ropar and Hoshiarpur, besides others: Guv

11:34 am: Government has reduced the resource gap to Rs 4,175 crore in 2017-2018 and increased the revenue receipts by 23 per cent in December 2018: Guv

11:33 am: Government is facing severe financial constraints because of financial imprudence of the previous government. They spent public money recklessly without caring for possible revenue receipts of the state. They had left the state with an outstanding liability of Rs 13039 crore in March 2017. The state has slipped down the ladder in its ranking in per capita income from third in 2008-2009 to 10th in 2016-2017: Guv

11:29 am: Government is committed to recommendations of enquiry headed by Justice Ranjit Singh. The government has set up a Special Investigation Team as recommended by the assembly: Guv

11:28 am: The government has made it clear to one and all that no one involved in any sacrilege case will be spared: Guv

11:27 am: Enforcement of anti drug abuse measures during the last two years as many as 21,049 cases registered under NDPS Act. 25,092 arrested and more than 556 kg heroin recovered.

11:24 am: Policies and programmes formulated and notified by the state are, among others: Business and Industrial Development Policy; Tourism Policy; Culture Policy; Policy for Housing and Urban Development; Teansport Policy; Mahatma Gandhi Sarnath Vikas Yojna; Agriculture Debt Relief Scheme; and Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobar: Guv

11:24 am: The government has started 168 outpatient opioid assisted treatment (OOAT) clinics to provide free outpatient treatment to drug addicts.

11:24 am: We wish that the central government takes a note of the looming water crises in Punjab and helps state in avoiding the same before state turns into a desert: Guv

11:24 am: State government proposes a State Water Authority to ensure better regulations and conservation of water.

11:24 am: SAD- BJP MLAs walk out of the assembly

11:14 am: The central Ground Water Board has declared nearly two third of the state as dark zone: Guv

11:13 am: Punjab does not have surplus water and is in fact threatened with a water famine in not too far a future. State ground water is fast depleting: Governor

11:10 pm: Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Master Baldev Singh not attending governor’s address.

11:11 pm: Government has created a specialised force within Punjab Police called Special Operations Group. The group is equipped with Sophie aged training to face situations like didayeen attacks, hostage situation and respond to armed militants with modern weapons

11:11 pm: SAD-BJP MLAs in the well of the House.

11:09 pm: Five rebel MLAs of AAP—Kanwar Sandhu, Jagdev Singh Kamalu, Jagtar Singh Jagga, Pirmal Singh and Nazar Singh Manshahia—sitting at the back benches in the House.

11:07 pm: Governor VP Singh Badnore begins address. Says government has achieved major success in controlling crime, including busting 18 terror modules and 22 foreign networks. More than 1,400 gangsters neutralised.


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