Punjab Assembly unanimously passes 3 Bills to counter Centre’s farm laws; session extended by a day

Capt appeals to farmers to lift their 'rail roko' protests

Ruchika M Khanna 

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20

The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed three Bills to counter the Centre’s farm laws.

The official resolution moved by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the three laws countering the Centre’s farm laws, were passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha unanimously.

The Vidhan Sabha session has also been extended by a day.

Amarinder also appealed to the protesting farmer unions to lift their ‘rail roko’ protests as it was bleeding Punjab.

“Losses to the industry are of Rs 40,000 crore and the 170 lakh tonnes of paddy being procured this year can be accommodated only if the trains are allowed to transfer the previous year’s stocks,” he said.

Earlier, the two-day Punjab Vidhan Sabha special session resumed on Tuesday with Amarinder addressing the House and moving a resolution rejecting the three farm laws passed by Parliament.

Also read: Punjab Vidhan Sabha session's Live telecast stops the moment Navjot Sidhu begins his speech

Demanding draft of new farm law, Punjab AAP MLAs spend night in Assembly building

Punjab Vidhan Sabha session's Live telecast stops the moment Navjot Sidhu begins his speech

The resolution mentioned that the three laws were "anti-farmer". The Vidhan Sabha had earlier passed a resolution rejecting these laws.

"We reject the three agriculture laws as well as the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020. These laws are against the interests of the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and western UP. The House unanimously rejects these three laws and the proposed amendment,” he says.

The CM then tabled three Bills in the House.

The three Bills are The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2020.

As per The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill no sale of paddy and wheat in Punjab will be valid unless it is paid equal to or over MSP. Imprisonment of three years and a fine in case anybody compells a farmer to sell his agricultural produce below MSP.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance (special provisions and Punjab amendment) Act, makes it mandatory for those entering into contract farming with farmers too will have to pay the MSP or over the MSP. Punishment of three years if the Act is violated.

Essential Commodities (Spl Provisions and Pb Amendment) Bill keeps all powers to fix stock limits of food grains with state. Rejects Centre’s powers to fix stock limits. Imprisonment of three years and a fine in case anybody compells a farmer to sell his agricultural produce below MSP.

The Aam Aadmi Party, however, objected to the Bills being introduced without the MLAs being given time to go through them.

The MLAs staged a protest in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha since Monday noon till 5.30 am on Tuesday over the issue.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal introduced Bill seeking Amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.The Bill seeks to protect the farmers of Punjab from attachment of farm land in any recovery proceedings.

Land holding below 2.5 acres shall not be attached in any recovery proceeding by any court in Punjab.

MLAs meet Governor

Meanwhile, cutting across party lines, the Congress, SAD and AAP legislators led by Capt Amarinder Singh met the Punjab Governor and demanded approval to the Bills before sending these to the President. All the Punjab Vidhan Sabha MLAs will meet the President between November 2 and November 5.

Earlier, Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu also spoke on the Bills in the Assembly. He said that Punjab made the country food surplus and fed 80 crore people.

He also spoke of discrepancies in the rise of incomes of other sections of society and farmers, saying that that, “Our Constitution is being violated by the Centre-Punjab naal dhakka ho riha hai, he thunders.”

“It is a conspiracy to make Punjab helpless when corporates enter the trade of agriculture products,” he said.

Sidhu alleged: “You (referring to the BJP) want to hand over the agriculture to Ambani and Adani.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra, meanwhile, proposed to extend the session by one-more day, to which Speaker Rana KP Singh said: “Will consider later.”

Punjab Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa criticised the two BJP MLAs - Arun Narang and Dinesh Babbu- for abstaining from the House proceedings today. He said: “It shows that the two BJP MLAs are not with Punjab.”

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