Dera Baba Nanak (Punjab), Nov 30 | Terming the farmers’ fight against the farm laws as just, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday asked the Centre why it was being adamant on the issue and not listening to the farmers.
“It is the job of the government to listen to its people. If farmers are joining the agitation from so many states, then they must be really upset,” said the Chief Minister while interacting informally with the media during his visit to the historic town.
He asserted his government’s commitment to stand firmly with the farmers in their fight against “the black laws”.
On the Prime Minister’s adamant stand that the new laws were beneficial to the farmers, the Chief Minister said Narendra Modi had been maintaining this line since the beginning, which was the reason why Punjab came out with its own Bills.
He questioned the Governor’s decision to sit on those Bills instead of forwarding them to the President, which he is required to do, and pointed out that the Governor had done this even last year on the Bill related to the Chief Minister’s advisors.
Pointing out that the minimum support price (MSP) and ‘arhtiya’ or commission agent system was the backbone of Punjab’s successful agricultural model, with the farmers and ‘arhtiyas’ sharing a very close bond, the Chief Minister questioned the need to change the established system.
“Will the corporates who would take the place of the arhtiyas ever care to help farmers in times of crisis?” he asked.
Amarinder Singh observed that Guru Nanak Dev had attached great significance to the small farmers, who constitute the bulk of Punjab’s farming community, with 75 per cent of them holding less than five acres of land.
“It is these very farmers who would be ruined by the black agricultural laws enacted by the Union government,” he said, adding it was against these legislations that the farmers were currently protesting at Delhi borders and “braving the harsh winter cold, the Covid-19 threat and the brutality of Haryana Police”.
On the Kartarpur Corridor, the Chief Minister said it was time for the Centre to open it, since even Pakistan had done so. “I don’t know why the Central government is not opening it,” he added.
Citing the emerging challenges of internal and external aggression, the Chief Minister underlined the need for unity to counter the forces trying to divide the nation on communal lines.
He pointed out that Punjabi soldiers like Gurtej Singh had made the supreme sacrifice and killed 12 Chinese soldiers in the recent clashes at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Only a united India could fight the enemy, he added.
The great Guru Nanak Dev had promoted the ideology of oneness of all humans, rising above petty caste and religious considerations, he pointed out, underscoring the relevance of this message in the current times.
The Chief Minister was visiting this town and Sultanpur Lodi to mark the culmination of 550th birth anniversary celebrations and the 551st Prakash Parv of the first Sikh guru.