The Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Friday passed a resolution, moved by the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, rejecting the farm ordinances and proposed electricity bill promulgated by the Union Government.
The resolution was passed in Vidhan Sabha by majority.
While tabling the resolution, the Chief Minister said that The Punjab State Legislative Assembly is seriously concerned about the apprehensions and anguished caused by the three Ordinances, namely The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the Union Government and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, amongst the people of Punjab, particularly the farmers and landless workers as these are not only against their interest, and time-tested agriculture marketing system established in the State, but are also against the Constitution of India. Entry 14 of List II of the Constitution comprises agriculture as the subject of the States, therefore these Ordinances are a direct encroachment upon the functions of the States and against the spirit of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Constitution and will promote distress sale.
He further said that this house thus urges upon the Union Government to withdraw these ordinances and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 forthwith; and instead, promulgate a fresh ordinance making the procurement of foodgrains and other agricultural produce at the Minimum Support Price (MSP), a statutory right of the farmers and continuation of Government procurement through Food Corporation of India.
Those who voiced support included Cabinet Ministers Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress MLAs Kuljit Singh Nagra and Gurkirat Singh Kotli, AAP MLAs Kanwar Sandhu and Kultar Singh Sandhwan, and Lok Insaf Party MLA Simarjit Singh Bains.
Some members also raised concern that these ordinances would undermine age old institutions such as arhtiyas and tolas.
Advancing his argument further, the Chief Minister said that these ordinances are Anti-Punjab and Anti-Farmer and would again descend into chaos filled era of the 80s which the State, being a border state, can ill afford as Pakistan is waiting in the wings to derive advantage from the chaotic situation to create mayhem in the country.
Pointing out that the Price support and maintenance mechanisms are necessary for MSP and ensuring National Food Security, the Chief Minister said that these ordinances would spell economic ruin for the farming sector of Punjab especially those 70 percent having less than 5 acres.
This is the second time that the precious resources of Punjab are being encroached upon the first time being in 2004 when the Vidhan Sabha cancelled the river water sharing agreement and saved the State and its agrarian economy from certain doom, said the Chief Minister and added that the resolution would be sent to both the houses of Parliament to convey Punjab’s vehement remonstration.
Basing his arguments on facts, Captain Amarinder Singh said that the Shanta Kumar Committee’s recommendations that are the progenitors of these ordinances would result in the repercussions for the farmers at National level as the FCI would wound up and so would the Punjab Mandi Board which undertakes development of link roads besides the rural areas.
Commenting upon the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for not being present in the Vidhan Sabha, the Chief Minister said that the party which brought Sri Anandpur Sahib resolution, knowingly absented itself from the Vidhan Sabha on such a significant occasion. He said that who would believe guarantee given by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal who had asserted that the ordinances won’t spell harm for the farm sector of Punjab.
Showcasing Punjab’s image as the food bowl of the country, the Chief Minister said that during the decade of 60’s, the farmers of Punjab ensured food security for the country despite being a miniscule 2 percent of the country’s population.
He also cited the example of Maize, which continues to be sold at Rs 600 a quintal despite MSP being in place.
With the passage of time, the ground water level receded in the State but the farming community didn’t let this come in the way of being the foremost in food production for the nation. But it is rather unfortunate that the Union Government instead of extending a helping hand is hell bent upon creating anti-farmer policies.
Making an emotive appeal to all the predominantly agriculture based States especially Haryana, the Chief Minister exhorted them to come forward on opposing the farm ordinances by rising above and beyond the party lines.
The Chief Minister thanked all the parties who extended support to the State Government at this critical juncture.
The BJP MLA Dinesh Singh while supporting the ordinance said that it is nowhere mentioned in the ordinances that the MSP regime would be done away with.
The SAD MLAs were not present in the house.