Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], October 15 (ANI): A private member bill demanding that the entire state of Punjab be declared as one 'mandi' was moved by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday, claiming that it would protect the interests of farmers in Punjab.
As per the statement, the Bill- the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment Bill), 2020 was moved by legislator Bikram Singh Majithia who met Speaker Rana KP Singh and requested him to allow the presentation of the Bill and the removal of the fifteen-day clause considering that the Vidhan Sabha had been called only yesterday by giving a four-day notice.
"The Bill moots an amendment in the Punjab APMC Act, 1961 by suggesting an insertion in section seven of the Act by way of amendment to read 'the entire State shall be the Principal Market Yard' (mandi)," the statement said.
The difficulties in production and sale of agricultural produce were mentioned in Bill and it was made clear that the privatization of the APMC infrastructure would put the farmers at the mercy of private entities in terms of agricultural produce.
"The Bill was moved because Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had already announced that he was only going through the motions of calling a special session of the Vidhan Sabha as a ritualistic exercise after we put pressure. The chief minister has gone on record at Khatkar Kalan that there is no point in calling a special session. It is only after the SAD announced his gherao that he has belatedly made this announcement. Now we want to pin him down and force him to take up legislation which safeguards the future of the farmers, khet mazdoor and arhatiyas of Punjab," senior SAD leader Bikram Majithia was quoted in the statement.
Majithia and Dr Diljit Singh Cheema also took strong objection to attempts to force through legislation in the forthcoming special session through brute force.
They also urged the Congress government to discuss any legislation being moved in advance with all stakeholders including farmers, farmer organizations, and political parties.
"If the Bill is tabled in the Vidhan Sabha ten minutes before it is taken up for discussion then the intentions of the government to carry out a paper exercise in the same manner in which it passed a resolution rejecting the Agri ordinances in August but never forwarded the same will be clear," the statement said.
An appeal was also made to the chief minister to recant their 2017 and 2019 manifesto calling for sweeping changes and dismantling of the APMC Act. (ANI)