Chandigarh, March 2, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislative wing today requested the Vidhan Sabha Speaker to allocate two days for exclusive discussion on emergent issues concerning the farmers of Punjab even as it demanded the Congress government announce minimum support price (MSP) for vegetables and fruits.
The legislative wing, which handed over a representation in this regard to Speaker Rana K P Singh under the leadership of Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, said the two day discussion besides covering the issues of the complete farm loan waiver promise, farmer suicides and the Congress government’s failure to take up the issue of repeal of the three Agricultural laws with the central government, should also spell out the way forward.
The representation said one such way ahead was announcing MSP for all vegetables and fruits immediately. It said this measure would provide much needed security to vegetable and potato growers as well as kinnow growers besides others.
The SAD legislators including Bikram Singh Majithia, N K Sharma, Pawan Tinu, Gurpartap Wadala,Manpreet Ayali, Harinderpal Chandumajra, Dilraj Bhundur, Kanwarjit Barkandi, Baldev Khaira and Sukhwinder Sukhi, while informing the Speaker that the State was in the midst of an agrarian crisis, said “the major reason for this is the complete loan waiver promise made by then Pradesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh in January 2017 at Talwandi Sabo by taking a holy oath in the name of the Gutka Sahib and the Dasam Pitah.
They said Capt Amarinder Singh had clearly promised that in case the Congress party forms the government in Punjab it would waive off all farmer loans be it from government or private banks, cooperative societies or Arhatiyas.
The legislators said the Congress government’s failure to implement the loan waiver had resulted in 1,500 farmer suicides and indebtedness had increased because the people believed the chief minister and did not pay their loan installments. They said the Congress party had also promised Rs ten lakh compensation and a government job to all farmers who committed suicide due to indebtedness but even this promise was not kept.
The SAD legislators said similarly farmers were very perturbed at the failure of the Punjab government to come to the aid of those protesting to demand repeal of the farm laws. They said the Punjab government participated in meetings in which the three Agricultural Ordinances, which later took the shape of laws, were finalized.
They said the Punjab government had also amended the Agricultural Produce Marketing Act (APMC) in 2017, months after it formed the government in the State. “The amended APMC has the same provisions as contained in the three central Acts and that is why farmers are demanding it be scrapped”.
They said Punjabis were also angry that their government had not defended them against persecution by the Delhi Police and that chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to take up the issues of farmers with the central government.
The SAD legislators also pointed out that other agricultural issues which needed a resolution included timely release of hundreds of crores owed to sugarcane farmers and ensuring increase of the State Assured Price on the pattern of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. They said a holistic policy was needed to reduce dependence on wheat and paddy and stop depletion of the water table by giving a push to alternative crops.
They said the Congress government on its part had failed to impress upon the centre to release a special package for the State so that it could do the much needed diversification and rejuvenate agriculture practices. “This includes revamp of the canal irrigation system and intensive micro irrigation systems besides water management and rain water harvesting”, they added.
The members while requesting the Speaker to allow this discussion on priority basis said not doing so would be tantamount to betraying the ‘annadaata’. “We are confident that you will not disappoint the peasantry and will go down in the annals of history as the custodian of the House who put the ‘annadaata’ first”, they told the Speaker.