The Madras High Court passed the judgment ordering all farmer loans from cooperative banks to be waived off. The protesting farmers of Tamil Nadu welcomed the decision with open arms and a big smile but are also clueless of paying off debts.
"I was the one who filed a writ in the Madras High Court and today, I am happy that the court has moved in our favour. After 9 months of filing the writ and 23 days of sleeping on the streets, now people are slowly opening their eyes," said Ayyakkannu, the farmer leader who is spearheading the Tamil Nadu farmers' protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
While a few celebrated at Jantar Mantar, many others still sat with worry engraved deep in their eyes. "I have three daughters who are still studying. We are a family of five. I borrowed Rs 2 lakh from a cooperative bank and Rs 4 lakh from a nationalised bank. While I can forget about the Rs 2 lakh loan, Rs 4 lakh has now added up to Rs 16 lakh. How do I pay off my debt? My only appeal is for the central government to listen to me," said Selva Raj, a farmer from Trichy who has been sitting at Jantar Mantar for 23 days now. He has 7 acres of land in Trichy which he claims is barren and useless now. It is the cows at home which help them sustain through the month.
WHAT ABOUT NATIONALISED BANKS?
Another farmer M Raj also believes that loans from nationalised banks should also be pardoned. "I took a loan to cultivate my land. I have around 8 acres land. The amount I borrowed was Rs 7 lakh and today I have to pay back around 4 times the amount. My property has been put out for sale," he said.
Raj hails from Trichy as well and his family comprises his wife and mother. His children are married and settled in neighbouring villages but he hasn't asked them to help him pay off the loans. His mother, he says, is a heart patient and for her surgery, he needs to spend around Rs 4 lakh.
The farmers at Jantar Mantar agree that the UP government has taken a good decision but, their concern is who will bear the cost of Rs 36,000 crore. "Our loans with nationalised banks come up to Rs 7,000 crore and the government is unwilling to waive it whereas the UP government has decided to write off loans up to Rs 36,000 crore. Who will bear the cost?" said Ayyakkannu.
On being asked if the protest at Jantar Mantar will end soon, the farmers unitedly bore the same response, "It's either victory or death for us. Until our demands our met, we will not budge."