Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seeking cancellation of FIRs against farmers and action on farmers’ demands. He also demanded that the state government should procure crops of oilseeds and pulses through its corporation to increase the income of farmers.
The letter comes after the Punjab Congress president’s meeting with representatives of 32 farmers’ organizations which had raised their demands with him. In a letter to the Chief Minister, Sidhu said, the Punjab government is requested to immediately pay attention to the demand raised in the meeting convened by the 32 farm organizations and take whatever necessary action may be taken.
The Punjab Congress chief said that the farmers’ organizations are demanding withdrawal of of unjust and unfair FIRs registered against the farmers after the violent incidents during the agitation.
In the letter, Sidhu also emphasized on how the Congress stood by farmers in their agitation against the three contentious farm laws demanding that the government should not let the three black laws be implemented in Punjab at any cost.
Referring to farmers’ fear of demand for land records by the Centre before the crop procurement, Sidhu asked the state government to fight against the Centre’s injustice, adding that partition of land had not happened in many parts of the state for decades.
This is also an attack on the resilient system of procurement by MSP through Arthiyas and to push the farmers away from APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committees) mandis towards private markets where no such records are being demanded, Sidhu wrote in the letter. He further said he strongly feels that the central government is actually creating ‘One Nation, Two Markets’ with different rules for APMC and private markets. This injustice we must fight against, he added.
Sidhu also pointed out a hike in budget allocation for agriculture, Rs 7,181 crore of power subsidy, Rs 5,810 crore of farm debt waiver and Rs 520 crore of loan waiver for farm labour and landless farmers.
Sidhu again reiterated that keeping in view the crop diversification, the state government should get the pulses and oilseeds procured from its agency at MSP. Provide storage capacity to farmers and strengthen financial capabilities of farmers through cooperative societies, so that business can be promoted without dependence on corporates.