Sunday, October 25, 2020

Punjab: In spl Vidhan Sabha session, a resolution to condemn Centre’s farm laws

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Written by Kanchan Vasdev
| Chandigarh |

October 17, 2020 12:06:30 am

A functionary said that the Centre’s law had no ambiguity that could be exploited. (File)

The Punjab government is planning to move a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha condemning the three recent farm laws. A special session of the Punjab Assembly will be held on October 19 wherein the state government will bring in a legislation to counter the farm laws.

Sources in the government said that the state is planning to bring in a resolution as laws were enacted despite Chief Minister Amarinder Singh writing a demi-official letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposing the Bills before they were legislated.

“The Prime Minister never got back to the state government. The union government even went ahead and legislated (the three ordinances).

The government is planning to bring a resolution condemning the three laws,” said a functionary of the government.

Meanwhile, the state government has sought inputs from Congress leaders before taking a final decision on its own legislation. The CM has invited state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, chairman of Punjab State Farmers Commission Ajayvir Jakhar, and the three members of the Cabinet committee — comprising Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria — constituted to talk to farmers fort a meeting.

“The CM is also planning to meet the farmers’ organisations and take their inputs before taking a final decision on the legislation. The meeting is likely to be held on Saturday,” said the functionary.

The CM had marathon meetings with Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, Financial Commissioner (development) Anirudh Tewari at his residence Friday. Advocate General Atul Nanda, who has been advising the government on the next course, was also a part of the meetings. The final decision was, however, not taken as the CM decided to get political leaders on board.

The government had earlier decided to call a Cabinet meeting on Saturday, which has now been postponed to 4 pm on Sunday to give Cabinet’s approval to the legislation and resolution to be passed in the special session.

Sources said that after several suggestions, the government had weighed several options including declaring the state as Principal Market Yard, and passing a legislation to bar the private traders from procuring crops under Minimum Support Price (MSP). There are, however, some hiccups in declaring the state as principal market yard as there already is a provision for principal mandi yard and sub yards in state’s existing laws. “We already have these provisions under the existing laws, which have been assented by the President of India. We fear that if we pass this legislation now, and send it for assent, they may put some objections and it could get stuck,” said a government functionary.

The government’s main worry is MSP and market fee. While declaring the entire state as principal mandi yard may take care of its market fee, its next worry is how to keep getting the funds that it gets from the Centre for procuring wheat and paddy under MSP. Punjab gets Rs 60,000 crore from Centre every year. For this the government has been considering an option to bring a legislation so that the private traders could not procure produce under MSP. But this may turn the private traders away from the state.

A functionary said that the Centre’s law had no ambiguity that could be exploited. “But the CM cannot go down in the history that he did not do anything for the farmers. Hence, we are leaving no stone unturned to help the farmers. Tomorrow’s meeting would lend more clarity,” he said

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