- Also demands assembly annul amended APMC Act of 2017 and announce 3 central Agri laws will not be implemented in Punjab
- SAD representation to Speaker says news Agri Acts were an attack on the federal structure and that the assembly should act like a bulwark to safeguard State powers
Chandigarh, October 13, 2020 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislative wing today asked Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh to call a special emergency session to enact new legislation to make the entire State a single marketing yard as well as annul the amended APMC Act of 2017 and announce three central Agri Laws will not be implemented in Punjab.
The members of the SAD legislative wing, who were led by legislature party leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, also impressed on the Speaker that doing so would be in consonance with the core principle of federalism. In a representation to the Speaker they made it clear that the new Agri laws were an attack on the federal structure and that the Vidhan Sabha should act like a bulwark to ensure the powers of the States were safeguarded. “We cannot stand mute even as the powers of the State are steadily diluted”, the SAD legislators told the Speaker.
Stating that Punjab and Punjabis were facing an existential crisis, the legislators including Mr Bikram Singh Majithia and Mr Gurpartap Singh Wadala told the Speaker “the time to save the ‘annadaata’ from utter ruin is now”. They said this could be done by enacting legislation to safeguard the farmers of Punjab from the ill effects of the central Agri Acts. They also disclosed how SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal had suggested nearly a fortnight back to bring in legislation to make the entire State a single Mandi (Principal Marketing Yard) but chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh was playing flip flop on this issue and weakening the cause of the farmers of the State.
Detailing the looming farm crisis in the State, the representation said the entire agricultural sector as well as the economy of the State has been endangered by the enactment of three Agricultural Acts. They said the Acts were designed to eventually dismantle the minimum support price (MSP) regime as well as bring an end to assured government procurement. “In this process they will also serve a death knell to ‘khet mazdoor’ as well as ‘mandi labourers’ and the ‘arhatiyas’ of the State and could result in dangerous fallouts also”.
Speaking about the role of the SAD, the representation said they party’s representative in the union ministry – Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal objected to the Ordinances in the cabinet and the party tried to effect changes reflecting the wishes of the farming community. It said when the BJP refused to make changes to make MSP a statutory law or assure farmers that no purchase of food grains and other ‘kisan’ produce would be allowed to be procured below the MSP, the SAD voted against the Bills and subsequently withdrew support to the NDA government.
The legislators said contrary to this, the Congress party and its government in Punjab adopted double standards on this issue. “It not only amended the APMC Act as it had announced in its election manifesto of 2017 to make private market yards and allow e-trading but also supported the framing of the central Agricultural ordinances containing the same clauses as a member of the high powered committee formed for this purpose. The Congress government kept farmers in the dark about the deliberations being done vis a vis the Agricultural ordinances with the centre for one year even as finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal was dispatched to attend the meeting of the high powered committee. The Congress government has even blemished the fair image of the Vidhan Sabha by not forwarding the resolution rejecting the then Agri Bills which was passed on August 28 to parliament and the centre”, the legislators added.