The Punjab assembly passed a resolution against the Centre’s three farm laws during the special session of the state assembly in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Punjab agriculture minister Randeep Singh Nabha moved the resolution that was followed by a debate marred by four adjournments, totalling an hour after chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi passed remarks against Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia as reported by Hindustan Times.
Randeep Singh Nabha in his proposal said that Entry 33 in the Concurrent List is related to Trade and commerce and agriculture is neither trade nor commerce. Farmer is not a trader and is not related to trade activities. Farmer is only a producer who sells his produce to SMG Mandi at MSP or price decided by middle men.
The legislative assembly criticised the Central govt. for putting food commodities under agricultural produce in the concurrent list entry-33B and said that whatever Narendra Modi govt. cannot do directly is being done covertly.
The state assembly also reminded the central govt. that APMC is a constitutionally mandated. Agriculture and agriculture related collection is a state matter. The Mandis under the APMC act are based on a legal foundation.
During the debate, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu blamed the Shiromani Akali Dal for the three laws and said the beginning was made by then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal by notifying the Contract Farming Act, 2013. Sidhu sought the abolition of the Act passed during the Akali-BJP government’s tenure, terming it anti-farmer.
Leader of opposition in the assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema of the Aam Aadmi Party, also accused the Akalis of supporting the farm laws. Even after these laws were framed, he said, SAD president Sukhbir Badal, former CM Parkash Singh Badal and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal supported the laws and only snapped ties with the BJP when farmers were opposed to the laws and started the protest.
Farmers have been protesting since November 26 last year against the three farm laws, namely the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.