Amarinder Singh described the legislation “a direct and deliberate assault” on farmers’ interests (File)
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the state Congress will challenge the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 in the court of law.
He described the legislation “a direct and deliberate assault” by the Centre on the farmers’ interests.
Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which seeks to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses and onion, a move aimed at transforming the farm sector and raising farmers’ income.
Riding roughshod over the farmers’ concerns, the central government, of which the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is a constituent, has imposed a central law on a state subject, thus “eroding” the federal structure of the country, said the CM.
“We will challenge it in court,” he said in a statement.
Asserting that he will not allow the farmers’ interests to be compromised in this “shameless manner”, Mr Singh said the enactment of the legislation is a step towards the “abolition” of the MSP (minimum support price) regime.
“It is a conspiracy on the part of the BJP-led NDA government to destroy Punjab and its farmers,” he alleged and declared that the Congress will fight this “attack” on the state’s interests tooth and nail.
“The legislation talks of encouraging competition among farmers. Do they really expect poor farmers, who are only competing with themselves for survival every day, to rival big corporates for protecting their interests?” asked the CM.
Noting that the enactment, along with the other two farm ordinances that the Centre has already tabled in the Lok Sabha, was in line with the recommendations of the Shanta Kumar committee, Mr Singh said.
The same committee had also suggested dismantling of the MSP regime. It is evident that the NDA government is now moving towards the “elimination” of the MSP system, he alleged.
The CM also took on Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal, accusing him of failing to protect the interests of Punjab’s farmers.
Sukhbir and his SAD were clearly a party to the “treachery” of the Union government, which has paved the way for “taking away” the rights of the farmers, he alleged.
“Will you quit the ruling coalition at the Centre?” the CM asked Sukhbir.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)