SAD appeals to Centre not to enact laws on farm ordinances till redressal of farmers’ fears
The SAD on Saturday appealed to the BJP-led Centre not to present the three farm ordinances for approval in Parliament until “all reservations” expressed by farmers are “duly addressed.” A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the SAD core committee which was presided over by Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal here.
The core committee felt that it was its responsibility to get the reservations of the ‘annadaata’ (farmers) addressed and asserted that it was committed to taking up all issues raised by farmers with the Union government, said a party release here.
The statement came, amid a widespread criticism by many farmers’ organisations of the three farm ordinances promulgated by the Centre.
The appeal from the SAD for not enacting laws on ordinances came despite the party earlier maintaining that the Centre has assured that these ordinances will have no bearing on the existing crop procurement policy.
Last month, Sukhbir Badal had even said that Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had written to him that there was no change in the present policy of the purchase of agriculture produce through Minimum Support Price through state agencies.
Badal had even accused Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of trying to “mislead” people on this issue.
Farmers have expressed apprehension that these ordinances would pave the way for dismantling of the MSP system and they would be at the “mercy” of big corporates. They have been demanding rollback of these ordinances.
The 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.
The SAD’s core committee noted that the SAD leadership met farmer organisations representatives and those of ‘khet mazdoor’ (farm labour) during the last few days. “It also held discussions with farm experts to take their views, besides taking the view of grassroots party workers as well as the senior party leadership,” the party said in a release.
A considered view has emerged that the Union government should not rush for enacting laws on the ordinances till the apprehensions conveyed to the SAD were addressed, said the release.
Badal conveyed to the core committee that he had also been approached by farmers as well as farm organisations from adjoining states and that all of them had expressed apprehensions about the central ordinances and urged the SAD to take up their issues and grievances with the central leadership. “Taking this into account, the SAD is also of the view that the concerns should be taken up for consideration by the Centre,” said the party.
The core committee felt that it is appropriate that the SAD president lead a delegation to discuss the concerns of the farmers with the central government. The Congress-led state government, which is spearheading a campaign against the ordinances, had described these ordinances as a “blatant attack” on the federal structure.
On August 28, the Punjab Assembly had passed a resolution, rejecting these farm ordinances.
The CM had then said these are not only against the interest of farmers and landless workers and time-tested agriculture marketing system established in the state but are also against the Constitution of India.