Thursday, October 01, 2020

Punjab

Fearing backlash, Akali Dal wants to defer farm ordinances

PUNJAB NEW EXPRESS | September 13, 2020 04:08 PM

CHANDIGARH: Fearing backlash, the Akali Dal, an alliance partner with the Central government, has appealed to it not to present the three Central agricultural ordinances for approval in Parliament until all reservations expressed by farmer organisations as well as farmers and farm labourers are duly addressed.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee, which was presided over by its President Sukhbir Badal here.

A party statement here on Saturday evening said the core committee felt that it was its responsibility to get the reservations of the "annadata" addressed, and asserted that it was committed to take up all the issues raised by farmers with the Union government.

The committee noted that the SAD leadership led by its President had met farmer organisations, farmer representatives and representatives of "khet mazdoor (farm labourers)" during the last few days. It also held discussions with farm experts to take their views besides taking the view of grassroots party workers as well as the senior party leadership.

The release said a considered view had emerged that the Union government should not rush through with passing the three Central ordinances till the apprehensions conveyed to the SAD were not addressed.

Sukhbir Badal conveyed to the core committee that he had also been approached by farmers as well as farm organisations from adjoining states and that all of them had expressed apprehensions about the ordinances and urged the SAD to take up their issues and grievances with the Central leadership.

"Taking this into account, the SAD is also of the view that the concerns should be taken up for consideration by the Centre."

Meanwhile, the core committee felt it was appropriate that the SAD President lead a delegation to discuss the concerns of the farmers with the Central government.

"Sardar Parkash Singh Badal remains the undisputed leader of the farmers of India. Farmers are the life and blood of our party. We have always fought to protect the interests of the farming community, including farmers and 'khet mazdoor'. We will continue to do so. No sacrifice is too big to ensure the future of our farmers is safeguarded, " the SAD President said.

The northern states of Punjab and Haryana, known as the 'granaries of India', have been currently witnessing protests against the farm Ordinances promulgated by the Union government.

The ordinances are the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance.

The Punjab Assembly on August 28 passed a resolution, moved by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, rejecting the farm ordinances and proposed electricity bill promulgated by the Union government.

The resolution was passed with a voice vote in the absence of SAD members. However, both members of the BJP were present in the House.

While tabling the resolution, the Chief Minister said the Assembly was seriously concerned about the apprehensions and anguish caused by the three ordinances that were not only against the interest of the farmers and the time-tested agriculture marketing system established in the state, but are also against the Constitution of India.

Showcasing Punjab's image as the food bowl of the country, the Chief Minister said that during the 60s, farmers of Punjab ensured food security for the country despite being a miniscule two per cent of the country's population.



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