High Court of Himachal Pradesh has asked the state to provide a mechanism to waive off the loans of farmer at least to the extent of Rs.50, 000. Division Bench comprising of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur made this observation while hearing a petition filed by Bhartiya Govansh Rakshan Sanverdhan Parishad.
Read the Order here
The Court observed that the farmers in the state are dependent on rains due to peculiar topographical and geographical conditions prevailing in the State of Himachal Pradesh. The Court also said that farmers have no common forum to redress their grievances and it is thus of great public importance that the State should intervene to protect their interests.
In an interim order, the bench observed “The farmers are debt ridden. They are not in a position to repay the debts due to ever decreasing prices of their produce. The worst affected are small and marginal farmers. Sometimes, they take recourse to extreme measures such as suicide etc. It is expected from the State to provide a mechanism to reduce their burden by creating a corpus to waive off their loans at least to the extent of Rs. 50,000/-. Most of the agricultural land in the State of Himachal Pradesh is rainfed. Whenever, there is scanty rain, the crops fail. The State is required to formulate a Scheme providing insurance cover to their crops in consultation with the National Insurance Companies at minimal premium.”
The Court directed the state to formulate a Scheme for waiver of loans raised by small marginal farmers, at least up to Rs. 50,000/- or in the alternative to permit them to pay the loans in installments by reducing their rate of interest, if need be by creating corpus in consultation with Nationalized/ Gramin/Co-operative Banks. State is also directed to formulate a Scheme for providing insurance cover to their crops in consultation with National Insurance Companies, within a period of six months from today at minimal premium.
The Court has also directed the state to set up State Level Farmers’ Commission with representatives of farmers for ensuring dynamic government response to farmers' problems as recommended by the National Commission on Farmers (NCF).