April 4, 2021 9:23:03 pm
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday said that the letter written by Union Minister Piyush Goyal to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was part of a “conspiracy against Punjab” whose aim is to destroy, disrupt and dismantle the mandi system of Punjab and cause divisions in the state so that farmers and arhtiyas turn against each other.
Addressing a press conference here, Sidhu accused the Centre of wanting to create a law and order situation in Punjab. “You are inciting farmers who are sitting on a peaceful protest. This is economic blackmail,” he said.
Sidhu said that Goyal has written to the CM about direct payment into accounts of farmers for purchase of the wheat crop. “It sounds very good on paper. But the real intention is something else. National Sample Survey of 2012-13 says 24 per cent farming in Punjab is done on contract. That is on oral contract. Nothing in writing. Land records are of ownership but there is no record of contract farmers,” he said.
He said that the land under tenancy may have increased and not decreased over the years due to many socio-economic factors. “About tenancy contracts, the revenue department has no information. Thus, if today the sale of wheat crop is allowed with ownership rights then more than 24 per cent of the output in the state will not receive payment for sale of their crops,” Sidhu said.
The Congress leader said that those who have done farming know how this system works. “Farmers are the backbone of agriculture but the arhtiyas are the backbone of agriculture economy. Small farmer takes loan from arhtiyas for cultivating small pieces of land because he has to buy seeds, pesticides. You cannot issue a ‘Tughlaki’ firman and do away with age-old system,” he said.
Sidhu said all the three proposals for direct payments (Draft Electricity Amendment Bill, replacing PDS with direct cash transfers and direct payments to farmers) are anti-farmer, against the federal structure and beneficial for corporate monopolisation of India’s food and agriculture systems.
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