As protesting farmers marked one year of the three contentious farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday demanded immediate scrapping of the legislations by the Centre, calling for detailed discussions with the farmers to find a way forward.
Pointing out that many farmers had died in these protests, the Chief Minister said it was high time the Central government withdrew the legislation in the interest of the farmers and the nation.
Wearing a #nofarmers_nofood bade, Singh inaugurated the third state level virtual Kisan Mela organised by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. The two-day mela is centered on the theme,‘Karie Parali Di Sambhal, Dharti Maa Hove Khushaal", in line with the state government’s focus on eliminating stubble burning.
“Till date, the Indian Constitution has been amended as many as 127 times, so why can it not be amended once again to scrap the Farm Laws and resolve the imbroglio resulting from them,” asked the Chief Minister. “What is the problem in doing it a 128th time,” he demanded to know from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre, which was out to ruin the farmers.
Recalling that he had been asked by the Centre to stop Punjab’s farmers from going to Delhi last November, the Chief Minister said he had refused point blank to do so, as protest is the democratic right of farmers. “Why should they not protest? How can I stop them,” he asked, indicating his support to stand with farmers in their fight against the centre's legislations. His government continuing to give compensation and jobs to the families of the deceased farmers.
Noting the contribution of Punjab and its farmers to the country’s growth, the Chief Minister said the state, with only 1.53 per cent of total geographical area of India, produces about 18 per cent of the country’s wheat, 11 per cent paddy, 4.4 per cent cotton and 10 per cent milk. Expressing pride in the achievements of the state’s farmers, Singh said that for many decades, Punjab has been contributing about 35-40 per cent of wheat and 25-30 per cent of rice to the central pool, he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the state had attained a record wheat productivity (5188 kg/ha) and production (182.6 lakh tons) during 2018-19. It also achieved a record rice productivity (4366 kg/ha) and production (133.8 lakh tons) during 2017-18. Record cotton productivity (827 kg lint/ha) was also achieved during 2019-20, he added, giving full credit for these achievements to the hardworking farmers of Punjab and the improved agricultural technologies developed by PAU.