Declare entire state agriculture market: Badal to Punjab govt

Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday demanded that the Punjab government immediately bring an ordinance to declare the entire state as an agriculture market to thwart the implementation of the Centre’s farm legislations.
Instead of being obsessed with the Akali phobia day and night and indulging in petty mudslinging against his opponent, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh must act to safeguard farmers, the SAD chief said in a statement.
The best and in fact the only way to block the implementation of the Centre’s new Acts in Punjab is to declare the entire state a principal market area or a mandi for farm produce, he said, adding that any area declared as a “mandi” is exempt from the application of the new legislations.
Badal said with the move, big corporate sharks will not be able to enter the state, thus saving farmers from their fangs .
Badal also asked the chief minister to repeal the amendments made by his government in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act in 2017.
The Amarinder Singh government had amended the Act to include all provisions like the creation of private yards, direct marketing and e trading, he said.
“These amendments are exactly the same as the black laws of the Centre against which the farmers are protesting. Amarinder’s APMC provisions have actually pre-dated the Centre’s black laws, Badal said.
These APMC amendments need to be repealed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. We will fully support the state government initiative to repeal these,” he added.
Badal said this initiative needed to be taken by the CM the earliest. There is no time to waste, he said, adding that an ordinance should be issued to this effect before the farm Bills become Acts and notified by the Centre.
Earlier, addressing farmers and Akali workers in Patiala and Ludhiana, Badal said his party will wholeheartedly support the CM regarding the ordinance.
We urge him to first immediately issue an ordinance declaring Punjab a mandi and follow it up quickly by convening a special session of the Vidhan Sabha to convert it into a formal Act,” he said.
Badal urged all political parties to rise above political considerations to ensure a unanimous passage of such a Bill.
The SAD expresses support to all initiatives, agitations or any other programme announced by farmer representative, regardless of which organisation or party starts them, he said. —PTI

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