Ludhiana, Sep 27 (IANS) The farming community in Punjab, expecting a loan waiver to bail them out of indebtedness, was disappointed, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not make any specific announcement in that regard during his visit here Wednesday.
The prime minister, in his speech in Punjabi, said that the government had extended schemes for farmers to avail loans at 7 to 8 percent rate of interest.
The state government estimates put the indebtedness of Punjab farmers at over Rs.250 billion.
Scores of farmers here have committed suicide over the last few years due to financial distress.
The state government was demanding a bailout package for farmers here on the lines of the one announced for farmers of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra this year.
The prime minister, however, provided a ray of hope to Punjab farmers saying that the state government was preparing a report on the issue and the central government would soon work out a scheme to help them.
Punjab officials indicated that a formal announcement of a package for the state's farmers could come in a couple of months when the prime minister visits the state again.
A relief package assume significance as assembly polls in the state are due to take place in February-March next year.
Manmohan Singh is on a two-day visit of the state beginning Wednesday.