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Contract Farming Act row: Act not in operation, will ask CM to repeal it, says Jakhar

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar said it was the SAD-BJP who had dared to introduce jail term for farmers under the Act in the Budget Session of 2013 after suspending 9 Congress MLAs to throttle their voice against these draconian measures.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
February 16, 2021 10:33:05 am
Farmers laws 2020, Farmers Protests, Farm laws on hold, SAD Congress Farm laws, Suspension of farm laws, Chandigarh city news, Indian Express newsPresident of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Sunil Jakhar.

Amid a controversy over Punjab Contract Farming Act, 2013, Punjab government is likely to repeal the Act in upcoming Budget Session. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar said they would repeal the Act and he would take up the issue with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The ruling Congress has been cornered by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar recently, who highlighted the Act stating that the legislation had a provision for penalising the farmers for not meeting obligations of entering a contract. Later, AAP leader and state co-incharge Raghav Chadha accused Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC chief of not opposing Punjab Contract Farming Act in 2013 despite being opposition MLAs.

Jakhar, while talking to The Indian Express, said, “This is unnecessarily causing a controversy. The law is defunct. It is not in operation. I will meet the CM after the civic body election results and take it up with him. We will repeal the Act if this is what it requires to zip up their mouths.”

He added that the ruling party had nothing to do with it. “We will set things in order. The provisions of the Act have not been implemented. Under the Act, a Contract Farming Commission (CFC) was to be set up. This was not set up even after eight years. When it is not implemented then why do we need the Act in place?” he asked.

He added it was the SAD-BJP who had dared to introduce jail term for farmers under the Act in the Budget Session of 2013 after suspending 9 Congress MLAs to throttle their voice against these draconian measures. Jakhar said the Bill was passed when the nine Congress members were suspended from the session and the rest had walked out and organised a mock session in Vidhan Sabha premises.

The law provided a legal framework to regulate contract between the buyer and the farmer through an agreement which was legally enforceable. It also enabled the government to control purchase, sale, storage and processing of agricultural products.

The buyer had to register at the local registering authority by paying a fee. The buyer was required to submit reports of contract transactions with the registering authority and the Contract Farming Commission (CFC) set up under the Act. The contract farm produce could be sold in APMC market.

The Act also provided that the buyer could not reject the produce after it was delivered. The buyer could make the payment by cheque, demand draft, and electric clearing system at the time of delivery.

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