Today News Online Service
Patiala, April 4
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday said that Food Minister Piyush Goyal was a “liar” and if his letter to Punjab Chief Minister urging online MSP payment was implemented, small farmers would be the biggest sufferers.
Punjab pays farmers through arhtiyas and is yet to integrate its land records with the central procurement portal. Goyal had written to Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh citing past exemptions the state was granted in this regard and urged urgent compliance.
Addressing media in Patiala at his residence, Sidhu said Goyal’s actions were “part of a larger conspiracy”.
He says the Centre was targeting Punjab and the recent letter by the central minister was “a bundle of lies”.
Direct online payment of minimum support price (MSP) to farmers highlighted by Goyal in his letter states “that the land record department of Punjab has all record of land record holdings, which is not correct,” said Sidhu.
He cited a national sample survey of 2012 -13 “which says 24 per cent of farming is on a contract basis”.
“It all happens on an oral contract. If Goyal’s letter is implemented in letter and spirit, no farmer will get payment. The small farmer will be the biggest sufferer,” he said.
Sidhu questioned the government over direct subsidy into the accounts of farmers and also in the accounts of below poverty line (BPL) families.
He accused the centre of promoting the private sector, led by “Adanis and Ambanis”.
Sidhu said the move could be termed “economic blackmail of farmers”.
The Centre is arm twisting farmers when they are protesting, he said.
A stop on cash credit limit timing by RBI clearly shows that all institutions of the country are being used against farmers, he said.
“The centre is giving relaxations to private companies to return bank loans but no such relaxation ever is given to farmers,” said Sidhu.
Sidhu accused the Centre of trying to disturb the peace and the economy of Punjab.