Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday demanded immediate scrapping of the Centre’s new farm laws, calling for detailed discussions with farmers to find a way forward.
Pointing out that many farmers had died in the protests against these laws, which were passed by the Parliament a year ago, he said the Centre should withdraw the legislations in the interest of farmers and the nation.
Singh was speaking after inaugurating the third state-level virtual Kisan Mela organised by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana. “It is high time the Central government realised its blunder and withdrew the legislations in the interest of farmers and the nation,” he said.
The Chief Minister, who wore a ‘No Farmers, No Food’ badge, said, “Till date, the Constitution of India has been amended as many as 127 times, so why can it not be amended once again to scrap the farm laws and resolve the imbroglio resulting from them? What is the problem in doing it a 128th time?” he sought to know from the BJP-led central government.
He also alleged that the Centre was out to “ruin the farmers”.
The senior Congress leader further said what was happening with the farmers today was “extremely sad”, given the immense contribution made by them to India’s development and progress.
The two-day Kisan Mela is centred on the theme “Karie Parali Di Sambhal, Dharti Maa Hove Khushal”, in line with the state government’s focus on eliminating stubble burning, an official statement said.
Recalling that he was asked by the Centre to stop Punjab’s farmers from going to Delhi last November, Singh said he had outright refused to do so as protest is the democratic right of farmers.
He made it clear that he continues to stand with the farmers in their fight against the “draconian legislations”, with his government continuing to give compensation and jobs to families of deceased farmers.
Noting the contribution of Punjab and its farmers to the country’s growth, the Chief Minister said the state, with only 1.53 per cent of total geographical area of India, produces about 18 per cent of the country’s wheat, 11 per cent paddy, 4.4 per cent cotton and 10 per cent milk.
For the past many decades, Punjab has been contributing about 35-40 per cent of wheat and 25-30 per cent of rice to the central pool, he said, expressing pride in the achievements of the state’s farmers.
Singh urged farmers to take full advantage of PAU’s advancements in technologies, including seeds, among others. (PTI)