Punjab became the first state on Tuesday to pass a resolution rejecting the recent farm laws brought by the Centre and passed four Bills to counter the central laws. Four bills were passed unanimously on Tuesday on the second and last day of the special session of the Punjab Legislative Assembly to neutralize the three new agricultural laws of the central government.
The House passed the three amendment bills by voice vote, besides amending the CPC to relieve farmers from the attachment of up to two and a half acres of land. The bill was introduced by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Except for two BJP MLAs who were absent during the special session of the assembly, all the other MLAs voted unanimously in favour of the motion and the bills.
These bills provide for imprisonment and fine of at least three years for sale or purchase of wheat and paddy below the minimum support price (MSP). Also, if pressure is made on farmers regarding land and crops by a company or a person, then a proposal for penalty and jail has been brought. Farmers have been exempted from the attachment of land up to 2.5 acres and arrangements have been made to get rid of hoarding and black marketing of agricultural products. Apart from this, a resolution against the power ordinance of the Center was also passed in the House. After this, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh reached Punjab Raj Bhavan to hand over copies of the bills to Governor VP Singh Badnaur along with MLAs from all other parties except BJP.
CM Amarinder said, “The resolution against the Agriculture Bill has passed in the Assembly and we have handed over its copy to the Governor here. First, it will go to the Governor and then to the President. If this does not happen then we have legal methods too. I hope the governor approves it. I have also sought an appointment with the President from 2 to 5 November. Entire Vidhan Sabha will go to him.”
Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had urged all parties to unanimously pass the ‘historic Bills’ of his government in the Assembly.
Amarinder Singh said, “I do not fear the fall of my government. I am ready to resign also. I have resigned for Punjab earlier also. We stand fully with the farmers.” Presenting the bill, Amarinder Singh said that both the Agriculture Amendment Bill and the proposed Electricity Bill are fatal to farmers, labourers and workers.
Leader of Opposition and AAP MLA Harpal Singh Cheema, while taking part in the discussion on the Bills in the House, suggested that if the central government does not buy farmers’ crop on MSP, then the state government should buy crop on MSP. On this, the Chief Minister asked the AAP leader whether he was aware of the financial impact of such a step on the state government.
The CM said that to buy wheat crop alone, 25 thousand crore rupees will be needed, whereas for buying paddy, separate money is required. Punjab does not have such a big budget. Describing the suggestion given by the AAP leader as inappropriate, he said that if the product is purchased in this way, then where will the state sell the produce.
On this occasion the Punjab Chief Minister once again appealed to the farmer unions to allow transportation of trains for transportation of coal, urea and grain, saying that the state government had already lost 40 thousand crores due to the rail stop. He said that industry and business sector of the state is equally important as the agriculture sector.