The Punjab Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws, claiming that it had unlawfully ventured into the domain of the state government.
It is the second resolution adopted by the Vidhan Sabha against the Centre’s three agriculture laws. The first was passed in October last year when Amarinder Singh was the chief minister of Punjab.
The resolution was moved by state Agriculture Minister Randeep Singh Nabha on the concluding day of the two-day Assembly session.
After discussion in the house, the resolution was passed in the absence of two BJP legislators.
“This special session of Vidhan Sabha held on November 11, 2021 through a resolution moved by agriculture minister Punjab and adopted by the House, once again rejects the three contentious legislations which were enacted by the Union government without any competence, by unlawfully venturing into the domain of the states,” it said.
Describing the three farm laws as an “attack on the federal structure”, Mr Nabha said the Punjab government will not implement these.
According to the resolution, the Vidhan Sabha strongly deprecates and condemns the efforts of the Union government aimed at “systematic dismantling of farmer-friendly regulated mandis and replacing them with trader-friendly unregulated mandis”.
“The Punjab Vidhan Sabha feels concerned at the unfair concessions extended to the traders and corporations of allowing purchases from unregulated markets without paying market fee, rural development fee etc. and thus providing unfair advantage to unregulated markets vis-a-vis regulated mandis,” it said.
The resolution said this will eventually lead to shifting of trade from the APMC mandis to the private mandis apart from causing fiscal loss to the state government and adversely affecting rural development.
Participating in the discussion, AAP MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan called the Centre”s farm laws as an “attack on the federal structure” and said the residence of the prime minister should be gheraoed to press the central government to repeal the laws.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu attacked the AAP-led Delhi government, alleging it had notified one of the Centre’s farm laws and claimed that it has not been denotified yet.
Sidhu said it was the Congress which brought a Water Termination Act to now allow a single drop of water to be taken out of the state. It was the Congress which brought the minimum support price, public distribution system and the Food Corporation of India, he added.
It was only the Manmohan Singh government at the Centre which had waived Rs 72,000 crore of farm debt, he further said.
He said that Amarinder Singh-led government had waived Rs 5,000-7,000 crore of the farm debt.
When Sidhu was speaking, Akali legislators were shouting slogans against him.
AAP MLA Harpal Singh Cheema questioned the role of the Congress-led government in the state over the farm laws issue.
Akali Dal MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala accused the AAP of playing a “double game”, alleging it had notified one of the Centre’s three farm laws.
He further said the Akali Dal had broken its ties with the NDA and had left the ministry in the union cabinet over the farm laws issue.
Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia took a dig at Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying when the Punjab Contract Farming Act was brought in in 2013, his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was part of the SAD-BJP regime.
The house also passed the Punjab Contract Farming (Repeal) Bill, 2021 to repeal the Punjab Contract Farming Act 2013.
The assembly also passed the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Meanwhile, several other Bills including the Punjab Right to Business (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Punjab Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Punjab Learning of Punjabi and Other Language (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Punjab Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, the Punjab One-Time Voluntary Disclosure and Settlement of Building Constructed in Violations of the Buildings Bye-laws Bill, 2021, the Punjab Protection and Regularization of Contractual Employees Bill, 2021 and the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 were passed in the House.