Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 23
Congress MLA and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday took to the streets of Amritsar against the farm bills.
Among several slogans raised by the former minister's supporters, "aa gaya Sidhu, Chha gaya Sidhu", "Sidhu teri balle balle..baaki saare thale thale", and "Sidhu teri soch te...pehra diyange thok ke" stood out the most.
Sidhu's cavalcade conducted a massive "rosh march" from Bhandari Bridge to the Hill Gate—the centre of the Holy City, that connects the Wall City to the Civil Lines areas.
While addressing the gathering, Sidhu stressed, that he believed in "politics of solution", and the people of Punjab would infuse their strength to ensure its implementation, be it against sand mining, cable or liquor mafia, and, now the "Kaala Kanoon" (black laws) enacted in the shape of farm bills.
“Kissan saada ‘Imaan’ hai…Saadi ‘gairat hai…‘pag’ hai ..te Saadi ‘pag’ nu ohna ne hath paya hai eh kanoon bana ke”. I have stepped out for farmers, and for the united cause of Punjab for which I will fight till my last breath. Above the party lines, 90 per cent MLAs opposed it. All Punjabis should unite against it”, he said.
He cautioned that the BJP-led Centre has another Draconian bill in waiting, which is "Electricity Amendment (Draft) Act 2020".
“Once it’s implemented, it will be the last nail in the coffin and destroy Punjab’s Agriculture model. The draft is already ready. Whenever they wish, they would implement it in no time”, he said.
He said, that the electricity amendment act would equip the Centre to have control over power regulation. Now, the control is with the PSPCL.
After this act, the whole control would shift to the Centre, and the biggest impact would be, that all power subsidies would be scrapped.
He said, that the Centre was replacing the "successful mandi model" with the "free market model"—which has failed in the US and Europe. He said, that it would impact the state's revenue to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore per annum, that was incurred from mandis only.
“Where there are no mandis in states, the farmers faced worst conditions and were resorted to doing petty labour jobs The MSP, since 1980 was raised just by 15 times whereas the employees of all sectors got enhancement of more than 500 times during the same pan. It was through farmers’ that the Centre procure food grains for underprivileged people on subsidised rates and the farmers were being ruined”, he said.
The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed in both houses of Parliament, amid protests by opposition parties.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was passed in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
“The ‘roti’ is the most essential commodity. How could it be shunted out of the essential commodities list?. Similarly, hoarding which has been legalised that would resort to food inflation”, he concluded.
However, farmers in Punjab will be intensifying their agitation after “Punjab Bandh’ on September 25. An indefinite “Rail Roko” campaign will be launched in the state from October 1 onwards.
This decision was taken in a joint meeting of 31 farmer unions, held at Moga on Wednesday.
The representatives of all these unions decided, that an indefinite campaign would be launched next week onwards, to force the BJP-led Central government to withdraw the three controversial farm Bills.
It has also been decided, that they will be forcing the Capt Amarinder Singh government to call a special session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha to reject the Bills.
“The Congress government, too, should show their sincerity towards saving farming by rejecting these Bills,” said Jagmohan Singh, General Secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda).
Other than this, the farmer unions will start "gheraoing" the houses of all BJP leaders in the state and boycott them.
“The most important decision taken in the meeting today is to ask all Gram Sabhas in Punjab to pass resolutions against the Bills and reject them,” said Dr Darshan Pal of Krantikari Kisan Union.
In the coming days, these Unions plan to intensify their agitation and start to "gherao" Delhi.
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