Chandigarh, Oct 20 (IANS) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said on Tuesday that the Congress government in Punjab took up the farm Bills after farmers’ ultimatum, but a lot more needs to be done to secure the future of Punjab farmers even as it announced its legislators were ready to resign enmass to ensure the Centre gave them their due.
“The fight to secure justice for the ‘kisan’, ‘khet mazdoor’ and ‘arhatiyas’ as well as three crore Punjabis has just started. Now Chief Minister Amarinder Singh must give a categorical assurance that the state government will purchase all crops, including wheat, paddy, cotton and maize, at minimum support price (MSP) if the Centre defaults on the same,” the SAD legislative party told the media here.
It also noted that it was unfortunate that the Chief Minister refused to allay the fears of the farmers by giving a concrete assurance in this regard.
SAD legislative party leaders Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Bikram Singh Majithia said that it is now clear that the Congress government, which was running away from calling a special session of the Assembly, has been forced to do so due to the ultimatum served on it by the farmers and khet mazdoors.
“The truth is that our farmer brothers made Chief Minister Amarinder Singh relent from his recent statement at Khatkar Kalan where he asserted that there was no point in calling a special session to negate the agricultural ‘black laws’ passed recently in the Parliament.”
Explaining the issue, Majithia said that even as all parties presented a united stand in the fight against the Centre, it was unfortunate that the Congress government did not share the proposed Bills with all the stakeholders, including the farmers and legislators, before the House was convened.
He said it was also unfortunate that the Chief Minister has thrown the ball in the Centre’s court by passing the Bills concerning trade and commerce, which were in the concurrent list and required Presidential assent.
“It would have been better had the government passed a Bill under the agriculture head by moving to make the entire state a single principle market yard to negate the implementation of the new farm laws in Punjab.
“Any such Bill would have received both the Governor’s as well as the Presidential nod being a state subject. A huge opportunity has been missed,” Majithia said.
He added that SAD had also requested in the Assembly that the Acts of 2006 and 2017, which had weakened the state Agricultural Markets Act, should be repealed.
He said this was also in line with the sentiments of Punjabis and it was baffling why the Punjab government refused to rise to the occasion and take a firm stand to protect the APMC markets.
Majithia said the SAD had also requested that the Congress government to take this opportunity and announce fulfilment of all the promises made to the farmers.
He said this included fulfilment of the complete loan waiver promise, giving a government job and Rs 10 lakh compensation to all farm suicide victims’ families, one government job to all farmer families holding less than five acres of land and Rs 20,000 per acre crop damage compensation.
Other legislators present on the occasion included Manpreet Singh Ayali, Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, Kanwarjit Singh Barkandi, Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra and Dilraj Singh Bhundur.