Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resume dialogue with the agitating farmers and make efforts to resolve their issues.
The chief minister made the plea, citing the heightened cross-border threat and increased drone and other terrorist activities by ISI-backed groups, including plans by Khalistani outfits to target certain farmer leaders,
Singh proposed to lead an all-party delegation from Punjab for discussions with the Prime Minister to find an amicable solution to the prolonged farmer agitation, which is threatening the social fabric of the state and impacting economic activities as well.
In a letter to PM Modi, Amarinder Singh warned that the powers across the border “may try to play upon the charged emotions of the proud, sincere and hard-working farmers” of Punjab, which has a long and live international border.
“The situation is presently under control, but I fear that provocative statements and conduct of some political parties and the emotional backlash might create law and order problems and also lead to irreversible damage to the hard-earned peace in the state,” said the chief minister.
The latest development comes in the backdrop of an increase in drone activity along the villages falling within 5-6 km of the Indo-Pak border in Punjab, with consignments of weapons and drugs being delivered into India by Pakistan.
Intelligence reports also suggest that with the Assembly elections in Punjab scheduled early next year, ISI-led Khalistani and Kashmiri terror outfits are planning terrorist actions in the state in the near future.
Singh pointed out, “It is a little unfortunate that the multiple rounds of engagement between the Union ministers and the representatives of farmers’ groups have not proved successful.”
Highlighting some other farmer issues and concerns which warrant immediate attention, he referred to his demi-official letter written to Narendra Modi on September 28, 2020, through which he sought to compensate the farmers for the additional cost of managing crop residues at the rate of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy, apart from minimum support price (MSP) as residue burning always remains a no-cost option for them.
Noting that this is extremely important to prevent stubble burning in view of the anticipated third wave of Covid-19, and its adverse impact on the health of people, especially in this region of the country, the chief minister said these farmers also need to be categorically reassured about their concerns regarding the provisioning of MSP and continued public procurement of wheat and paddy.
Further, their immediate fears about the hike in prices of fertilisers, especially phosphatic fertilisers, after October 31, 2021, are also required to be addressed, as nearly 60 per cent of DAP consumed in the state would be during November and December for the sowing of wheat, the letter read.
…With IANS inputs