AN MLA of the ruling BJP sat outside the Haryana Vidhan Sabha Wednesday and protested against alleged irregularities and problems faced by the farmers in ongoing crop procurement in various mandis across the state.
BJP’s Ambala MLA Aseem Goel reached Vidhan Sabha and sat on a “symbolic protest” outside the House and warned that if farmers’ problems are not addressed, a “full-fledged protest” with his supporters will be launched Monday. The MLA said he was “not protesting against the government”, and mainly lashing out at Additional Chief Secretary (Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs) P K Das, calling him “an egoist officer”.
“I do not come to Chandigarh for a picnic, I came here to raise problems and issues being faced by people of my constituency and my state. I represent five lakh people of my constituency. Paddy is a crop that you cannot store at home. Farmers are facing immense problems in registering on the state’s Meri Fasal Mera Byora portal. If farmer stocks paddy crop, there is always a threat of increase in the moisture content. While farmer’s crop is lying in his trolley, he is running from pillar to post to get his crop procured. Nobody is hearing him. There is no redressal,” Goel told mediapersons.
He further said, “Chaduni ji (BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni) also met this officer, several arhtiyas met him, I too met him, but he calls all traders, arhtiyas thieves and dacoits. An officer with this kind of an attitude is even overruling the people-friendly policies that our government made. The policies on the basis of which our Manohar Lal government was elected to power for the second term, this officer is overruling all those policies too. I am going to hold a bigger protest dharna with farmers and labourers, here only from Monday.”
Asked if he had brought his grievances to the notice of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the MLA said, “Everything is in the notice of everybody. This officer is troubling everybody due to his misconceptions.”
“I am not against the government. I am against this officer. If an officer thinks himself above the system or the government, he is required to be shown his limit. I am not a dumb doll, it is a democratic system, I have come here to raise people’s voice. Which MLA has the guts to raise an issue like this?” he asked.
“I am 41. My family has an association with farmers for over 51 years. My grandfather, father had been in this business of arhtiya and shellers. If I get down to expose these officers, there will be many. I shall expose them all at the right time. But, today, if farmers are facing hurdles due to one officer, I will raise my voice,” Goel added.
Asked about the allegations, P K Das said that being a government official he is bound by conduct rules and would not be able to comment on the “political activity of the elected representative”. “Paddy procurement policy has been approved at the highest level. Arhtiyas and millers were also consulted. Procurement is going extremely smooth, these days and is far better than previous years,” he added.
Responding to the media’s queries that Goel had given another issue to Opposition to hit out at the ruling government when the Baroda bypoll is barely a few weeks away, Goel said, “I am not sitting here to do politics. I am only sitting here to raise people’s voice who have elected me.”
Varun Chaudhary, Congress MLA from Mullana segment in Ambala district, said, “Several of our leaders had been highlighting the issue of irregularities and mismanagement that farmers are facing in various mandis across the state. But, the BJP-JJP government is not bothered. Yesterday, our party leader Rahul Gandhi too highlighted the problems being faced by farmers in this ongoing crop procurement, but the government refuses to listen.”
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “This coalition government is to be blamed for farmers’ woes in mandis. The anti-farmer laws have started showing the ill-impact on farmers. Private agencies have begun looting the farmers. Farmers are forced to sell paddy, cotton, maize and millet below MSP. Farmers are losing Rs. 500-1000 per quintal and are being harassed in the name of moisture content. Farmers have been coming to the mandis with paddy and other crops for several weeks, but purchase is nothing compared to the arrival in the mandis. Farmers are being harassed in the name of registration and gate passes. The government is refusing to buy the crop and citing moisture as an excuse. Left with no other option, farmers are selling their crops to private agency at whatever prices they are getting. The agencies are taking advantage of the helplessness of the farmers and looting them.”
INLD’s Abhay Chautala however called the MLA’s action “drama” and “an attempt to make the officer a scapegoat”.
“This act of the BJP’s own MLA shows that a thing like government does not exist in Haryana. It is surprising that ruling party’s own MLA has to sit on a dharna to raise his voice,” he added.
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