Updated: September 16, 2021 1:55:46 pm
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Monday appealed to farm unions to stop holding protests against the Agri laws in Punjab, claiming that they were impacting the state’s economic development, and advised them to mount pressure at the Centre by shifting their sit-in venues to Delhi borders or to Haryana. While the farmer leaders said there was no question of protests inside Punjab being halted, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij termed Amarinder’s statement as “irresponsible”.
“I want to tell farmer brothers that it is your Punjab, your villages, your people. You do whatever you want to do at Delhi (border), put pressure on them (Centre) and make them agree. Do you know farmers are also sitting at 113 places in Punjab? What will be the gain out of it? Punjab will suffer financially. They are doing it at Delhi (borders) and in Haryana. You do it there,” Amarinder said.
He was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of a government college to come up at a cost of Rs 13.44 crore at village Mukhliana in the Chabbewal Assembly constituency. He asserted that Punjab needed development.
Ruing that farmers are still sitting at toll plazas and not allowing retail stores of some big corporates to function, the CM expressed hope that his request would be acceded to by the farmers.
He added that the contentious laws had already been rejected by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and replaced by the state government’s farm laws, which were sent to the Governor for his assent but “to our dismay, they have not yet been forwarded to the President”.
Asking the central government to shed its “stubbornness” over the issue of “black laws”, Amarinder said the Constitution has been amended 127 times since 1950 and asked why it could not be done 128th times. “So why not one more time to repeal the farm laws for providing succour to the farmers who have been sitting at Singhu and Tikri borders,” he said.
Amarinder said that everything within the purview of his government was done promptly, adding a delegation of various leaders from farmers unions met him recently at Chandigarh to get the price of sugarcane hiked from Rs 325 to Rs 360 per quintal and the same was accepted by him at once.
He said the state government and its people have already expressed solidarity with farmers on this issue and instead of holding protests in the state they should mount pressure on the Union government to get these anti-farm laws repealed.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), the largest farm body of the state and which is holding maximum number of dharnas across Punjab, said that such requests should have come at the beginning of the agitation not after a year. Union president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said: “On what ground will we lift our dharnas when the protest is at its peak? We know that there is loss to our economy because of these dharnas but at the same time we have also put everything we own into these protests. The losses because of dharnas impact the people and not the leaders who should instead work to stop big scams from happening, which also affects the economy badly.”
He added that they will continue with their dharnas in Punjab because “no politician is affected and they keep increasing their allowances, salaries and pensions”.
Another farmer leader Satnam Singh Pannu of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (PKMSC) said: “We will continue with our dharna programmes wherever it is required because no government will listen to us without our agitation.”
Reacting to Amarinder’s statement, Haryana Home Minister Vij accused him of instigating farmers. “It is a very irresponsible statement of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to tell farmers that do whatever you want in Haryana or at Delhi borders but do not do it in Punjab,” Vij said in a tweet.
“This proves that Amarinder Singh has done the work of instigating farmers,” Vij added.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar too had last month accused the Congress government in Punjab of fuelling farmers’ unrest in his state.
Meanwhile, wooing Dalits in the Doaba region that has the highest number of SC voters, CM also announced that the upcoming college will be named after Dr BR Ambedkar. While the building of the college will be ready by March 2022, the college will start functioning from this academic session from the building of Senior Secondary School (Boys), Rajpura Bhaiyan.
The CM also announced that the entire development works of Sri Guru Ravidas Memorial at Sri Khuralgarh Sahib would be completed before the coming Parkash Utsav of Guru ji.
He handed over the debt waiver certificates to 75 farm labourers and landless farmers as part of the symbolic launch of the debt relief scheme in the Hoshiarpur district.
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