Exploring options to protect farmers' interests: Amarinder


Chandigarh, Sep 27 (IANS): Terming President Ram Nath Kovind's assent to the farm Bills as "unfortunate and distressing", Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday said his government is exploring all options, including possible amendments to the state laws, to protect the interests of the farmers.

All farmer organisations and other stakeholders would be taken into confidence before taking any decision on the way forward, he said, adding the state government was committed to the procurement of every single grain of the farmers without compromising on the pricing.

His government was already in consultation with legal and agricultural experts, and all those impacted by the Central government's "calamitous" legislations, to decide on the future course of action, he said.

Besides legal recourse, his government was looking at other options to scuttle the Centre's new agriculture laws "that are designed to ruin Punjab's farmers and economy", said the Chief Minister, who is scheduled to sit on 'dharna' against the "draconian" legislations on Monday at Khatkar Kalan in SBS Nagar after paying tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh at his 'Samadhi Sthal'.

Amarinder Singh expressed disappointment and anguish over the decision of the President to give his nod to the three "unconstitutional and anti-farmer" agriculture Bills, without giving the Congress and other Opposition parties the opportunity to put their concerns before the Parliament.

The President's assent had come as a big blow to the farmers, who are out on the roads protesting against the Centre's assault on their interests, he said.

Implementation of these dangerous new laws in their current form would destroy Punjab's agriculture -- the lifeline of its economy, said Amarinder Singh, adding that the very livelihood of farmers was at stake due to these legislations, which the Centre had succeeded in imposing on the states and the farming community by brute majority.

The exclusion of the minimum support price (MSP) from the legislations had raised serious concerns about the intent of the BJP-led Union government, which had triggered the widespread unrest among the farmers and prompted the Congress to take the lead in aggressively opposing the central laws, he said.

"Punjab, which would be the worst affected by these treacherous laws, would take this fight forward with all its might," he said, vowing not to give up till the farmers get back their due rights.

Amarinder Singh also reacted strongly to Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal's response to the Presidential assent, terming it a "cruel joke" on the farmers since it was the Shiromani Akali Dal's active support to the farm ordinances that had brought things to such a pass.

"Even now, after the farce of his party's break-up with the NDA, all Sukhbir seemed concerned about was not the farmers' plight but exploitation of the issue to boost the Akali prospects in the next Assembly polls," he added.

 

  

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