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Negate Centre’s farm laws in 7 days: Farmer unions to Punjab govt

CM rejects 1-week ultimatum given by farmers’ unions for holding a special Assembly session to nix Modi govt’s agri laws, saying he will take whatever decisions are needed in farmers’ best interests

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday rejected the one-week ultimatum given by the farmers’ unions for holding a special Assembly session to negate the Centre’s controversial farm laws, saying he will do what he feels is necessary in the interest of the farmers.

Although he has already asserted that his government would hold a special session of the Punjab Assembly to bring in necessary amendment to state legislations to counter the Narendra Modi lead central government’s contentious agriculture laws, ultimatums were not the way to force the government into taking hasty steps, Capt Amarinder said.

His sole interest lies in protecting the state’s farmers and the farm sector at all costs, and not in appeasing the farmers organisations, the CM said, adding that he will take whatever decisions are needed in the best interest of the farming community.

Capt Amarinder was reacting to reports that at a meeting held on Wednesday, the state farmers’ unions had issued an ultimatum to his government for convening a special session of the Assembly session to amend laws for countering the Centre’s farm laws. The farmers’ unions also decided to continue with their present agitation, including `Rail Roko’, against the Centre’s agri laws without any relaxations till 15 October, when they will hold their next meeting. They also decided to block all major highways in the state on Friday, from 12 noon to 2 p.m.

The farmers unions’ threat to gherao his residence or the houses of the state ministers and Congress leaders would not force him into taking any decision which may eventually turn out to be detrimental to the interests of the farmers, said Capt Amarinder, making it clear that he would not compromise the farmers’ interests under pressure or threats from the unions.

He pointed out that he had taken suggestions of all these unions a few days back on the way forward on the Centre’s farm laws, and would ensure that nothing is allowed to obstruct his government’s efforts to save the livelihood of the farmers and secure the future of their children.

On the decision of the farmers’ unions not to heed his appeal to allow goods trains to pass amid their `Rail Roko’ protests, the CM said it was “regrettable”, since by not relaxing their agitation these organisations were damaging the interests of the farmers as well as the state.

The state government needs to urgently transport food grain, coal, fertilizer and petroleum on priority, besides lifting the paddy grain from the grain markets.

Capt Amarinder said with fertilizer stocks running low, the potato sowing would also be adversely affected. With blockades at petrol stations, oil flow was also getting affected, which would impact the movement of tractors and the farm produce, he added.