Chandigarh, April 9, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to tell why he had kept the farmers and the ‘arhatiyas’ in the dark vis a vis the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme being imposed by the centre even as it accused him of playing a fixed match with the centre on this issue.
The party also demanded that the more than fifty per cent hike in fertilizer prices announced by the central government be rolled back immediately and asked the chief minister why he was not opposing this measure aimed at punishing farmers for protesting against the three Agricultural laws forcefully.
Addressing a press conference here senior party leaders Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Jathedar Tota Singh and Sikander Singh Maluka said the chief minister had made a big show of opposing the DBT scheme and had during a recent meeting with ‘arhatiyas’ announced that come what may all payments for food grain procurement would be routed through them only.
“However the Punjab ministerial team led by finance minister Manpreet Badal abjectly surrendered before the centre in its meeting with Minister Piyush Goyal yesterday. It is also a fact that the Congress government had committed in writing to implement the scheme from the forthcoming rabi season. Despite this the government resorted to a drama to befool the people in the same manner as the Congress party befooled and deceived all sections of society with false promises in the 2017 assembly elections”.
Asserting that implementation of the new DBT scheme would increase social strife, Prof Chandumajra said ‘relations between farmers and ‘arhatiyas’ would be poisoned and it would cause immense problems for those who leased out land.
The SAD leaders also announced that its top leadership would fan out in the ‘mandis’ tomorrow to ensure procurement was initiated in earnest as well as to secure the rights of farmers. Prof Chandumajra said there were reports that farmers were not being allowed to download their produce in the ‘mandis’ and even jute bags had not reached the mandis.
They said the SAD would also ‘gherao’ wheat trucks being brought into the State from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and demanded the chief minister take action against Congress ministers and legislators indulging in this corrupt activity.
The Akali leaders, including Jathedar Tota Singh and Sikander Singh Maluka also castigated the chief minister for not standing up to the principle of federalism and allowing the centre to infringe on the rights of the State.
They said the centre was not disbursing Rs 800 crore due to the State on account of the Rural Development Fund (RDF) and demanding that the tax be reduced from the present three per cent to one per cent. They said States were well within their rights to levy this tax and said it was surprising that chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had not even taken up the issue forcefully with the central government.
The Akali leaders also demanded withdrawal of the infrastructure cess put on petrol and diesel besides demanding a reduction in VAT on petroleum products. It also demanded withdrawal of the hike in stamp duty charges.