Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 8
Reiterating that farm laws are anti-farmer and were introduced without any discussion with the stakeholders, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the unity showcased by farmers through the Bharat Bandh had underscored the need for repeal of the laws, followed by a detailed discussion on agricultural reforms, a press release by the state government read.
The Chief Minister asked why the Centre could not heed to the demands of farmers, agitating across the country, to scrap these laws and hold fresh talks with all stakeholders.
“Had I been in their place I would not have taken a minute to accept my mistake and revoke the laws,” he said.
Asserting that the whole country stood with farmers in their fight for survival, Captain Amarinder said the Centre should allow the existing system to continue instead of scrapping the Arhtiya and the Mandi system, as the Farm Laws were designed to do, the press release further read.
“Why are they doing away with it? They should let the farmers decide what they want,” he said, adding that nobody was stopping private players from purchasing but it could not be allowed at the cost of the well-established system which had stood the farmers in good stead all these decades.
The Chief Minister further demanded to know why the Government of India was not willing to give legitimacy to MSP, if their assertion of not abolishing it was sincere.
“MSP is our right,” he said, adding: “If MSP is not guaranteed and another political party, apart from the Congress and the BJP, which is promising to conform with the support price, comes to power at the Centre, then who will take the responsibility of the farmers getting their minimum due?”
He pointed out that the foodgrain bought at MSP were pushed into the PDS to feed the country’s poor and all that would end if MSP was done away with.
There was no reason why the Centre could not listen to farmers, said the Chief Minister.
“This was what I had told Union Home Minister Amit Shah too,” he said, adding that he urged Shah to do everything possible to resolve the concerns of the farmers in their interest, and also in the interest of India’s security.
The Chief Minister appealed to the Centre not to write off Punjab’s agricultural prowess.
He reiterated that Punjab was not consulted on the issue. The first meeting of the reforms committee was held before the state was incorporated as a member, the second meeting discussed only financial issues and was attended by Manpreet Badal, and at the third meeting, the secretaries were informed that decisions had been taken.
Agriculture being a state subject, the Modi government should have held discussions with all stakeholders before bringing in these laws and not bulldozed them through Parliament, said the Chief Minister.