Chandigarh, Aug 28 (PTI) The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution against the three agriculture marketing ordinances notified in June and a proposed Bill to boost private sector investment in the power sector, urging the Centre to withdraw them.
Moving the resolution, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh claimed the ordinances spelled “economic ruin” for Punjab’s farmers, particularly “the 70 per cent” who owned less than five acres of land.
He also compared the possible impact of the central ordinances to that of river water-sharing under the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal project, opposed by his Congress government.
Singh also argued that the state could descend into the “chaos” of the 1980s, an apparent reference to Khalistani terrorism.
The resolution against the three ordinances was passed during the one-day assembly session held here, with strict protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BJP-led government at the Centre had brought the three ordinances, saying they will allow free movement of agriculture produce between states and let the farmers decide to whom they want to sell their crops.
These ordinances are the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.
Besides, there is the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Apart from the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Lok Insaf party MLAs supported the resolution against the ordinances.
The chief minister claimed that the ordinances not only harmed the interests of farmers and landless workers, but also went against the Constitution.
He called them a “direct encroachment” upon the functions of the states and against the spirit of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Constitution.
The House urged upon the Centre to withdraw the ordinances and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill,2020.
Instead, the CM said, it should promulgate a fresh ordinance allowing procurement of foodgrain and other agricultural produce at Minimum Support Price (MSP) by the government through the Food Corporation of India.
In an apparent reference to terrorism, the CM claimed Punjab would again descend into the chaos of the 1980s because of the “anti-farmer” ordinances. This, he said, the border state can ill afford as Pakistan is waiting to derive advantage from a chaotic situation.
Referring to the proposal on river-water sharing through the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal project, Singh claimed that this is second time that Punjab’s precious resources are being encroached upon.
The SYL project remains in limbo due to Punjab’s opposition.
Amarinder Singh said the resolution would be sent to both Houses of Parliament.
He said the Shiromani Akali Dal had “knowingly absented” itself from the Vidhan Sabha ahead of the adoption of the resolution.
He asked if anyone could believe the guarantee given by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal that the ordinances would not harm the state’s farm sector.
Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress MLAs Kuljit Singh Nagra and Gurkirat Singh Kotli, AAP MLAs Kanwar Sandhu and Kultar Singh Sandhwan, and Lok Insaf Party MLA Simarjit Singh Bains spoke in favour of the resolution.
BJP MLA Dinesh Singh Babbu supported the ordinances and said they nowhere mentioned that the MSP regime would be done away with. PTI CHS VSD ASH ASH