Chandigarh, March 5 : Even as he led the state Assembly in seeking unconditional withdrawal of the three farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday asked 10 questions from the nation to expose the intent of the Centre behind the legislations.
Singh said the farm legislations were unacceptable to the farmers and the state.
He also appealed to the government of India to withdraw all cases and notices against the agitating farmers to build a congenial environment for an amicable solution.
Introducing a resolution calling for repeal of the farm laws by the Centre, the Chief Minister declared in the Assembly that these laws cannot be accepted and allowed to remain on the statute book to the detriment of the farmers.
Not only are they against the principles of cooperative federalism but their objectives are apparently preposterous, he added.
The resolution, which was later passed unanimously, expressed the angst of the members against the “inconsiderate and unresponsive attitude” of the government of India, which has aggravated the situation and enhanced unrest and anguish among the farmers.
It demanded the unconditional withdrawal of the farm laws in the interest of the farmers and the state, and to continue with the existing system of MSP-based government procurement of foodgrains.
While Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLAs were suspended by the Speaker over unruly behaviour when the Chief Minister was speaking on the issue, AAP members had staged a walkout before it was put to vote.
Ostensibly, these laws are aimed to achieve the objective of doubling the income of farmers, but it does not appear to be so, Singh said while tabling the resolution, pointing out that the farmers consider these a threat to their livelihood, and as a result, they started an agitation against these laws, demanding that these may be withdrawn.
Singh said his government had right from the beginning, since June 5, 2020 when the three Ordinances on the issue were promulgated by the Centre, opposed the laws.
He termed as unfortunate the fact that the three Bills passed unanimously by Punjab assembly to counter the ill-effects of the farm laws had still not been granted the Presidential assent under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution.
Underlining the need to immediately repeal the Central farm laws, the Chief Minister raised 10 vital questions to the nation, exposing the lacunae that make the legislations unacceptable under any circumstances.
He went on to ask, among other issues: Who benefits from completely unregulated private mandis? Who benefits from 100 per cent waiver of mandi fees, cess, and taxes in a private mandi? Who benefits by debarring government officials from offering MSP to farmers in a private mandi? And Who benefits when we abolish the institution of arhtiyas, mandated by law to provide mandi services strictly at rates fixed by the government?
Though nobody dares speak out aloud, the response to these questions is clear, said the Chief Minister, adding that his government was fully conscious that the government of India has no choice but to withdraw these legislations, and allow the time-tested existing agriculture marketing systems to continue, ensuring socio-economic security of the farmers and farm workers.
The House resolved to once again urge the government of India to withdraw these laws unconditionally in the larger interest of the farmers and the state and continue with the existing system of MSP-based government procurement of foodgrains.