Waive off loans of small farmers, HC tells Himachal

Shimla, March 3 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court has favoured that loans of small marginal farmers up to Rs.50,000 be waived off or the farmers be allowed to pay the loans in instalments.

It also asked the government to set up a farmers’ commission and provide the tillers a farm insurance scheme as they are under tremendous pressure.

Passing these orders on the petition of the Bhartiya Govansh Rakshan Sanvardhan Parishad, a division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Thakur said due to peculiar topographical and geographical conditions, the farmers are dependent on rain.

“The farmers have no common forum to redress their grievances and it’s of great public importance that the state should intervene to protect their interests,” reads the order passed by the bench on Wednesday.

“The commissions are constituted by the union, state governments and their recommendations should be accepted, and if the same are not accepted, cogent reasons must be assigned. The farmers are under tremendous pressure,” the order adds.

Listing the matter for next hearing on June 13, the judges directed the state to formulate a scheme for waiver of loans raised by the small marginal farmers, at least up to Rs.50,000, or as an alternative, to permit them to pay the loans in instalments by reducing their rate of interest.

The chief secretary was directed to formulate a scheme for providing crop insurance cover in consultation with the national insurance companies within six months at minimal premium, said the order.

The bench directed the panchayati raj, urban development and animal husbandry additional chief secretaries to release Rs.5 crore each, subject to availability of funds, to the urban bodies for the construction of cattle sheds within three months.

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