Tomar said Punjab was moving towards “bankruptcy” and “lagging behind in development” under Congress and alleged the ruling party has “failed’ to fulfil its key promises of waiving complete farmers’ loan.
- Last Updated: June 27, 2020, 5:32 PM IST
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday slammed the Congress-led government in Punjab, accusing it of trying to “mislead” farmers over the issue of ordinances related to the farm sector.
While reiterating that the minimum support price regime will continue to stay, the Union minister said after the implementation of these ordinances, the farmers’ income will grow.
Attacking the Congress-led dispensation, Tomar said Punjab was moving towards “bankruptcy” and “lagging behind in development” under its regime and alleged that the ruling party has “failed’ to fulfil its key promises of waiving complete farmers’ loan and jobs for unemployed youths.
Tomar’s statement came days after many political parties, barring the BJP and the SAD, in Punjab pitched for the withdrawal of the three ordinances, dubbing them as “anti-farmers”.
The Centre had recently promulgated three ordinances — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance.
Addressing a virtual rally organised by the Punjab unit of BJP, Tomar said unlike other producers, farmers till now had no freedom to sell crops at their price.
“Farmers had to go to mandis and license holders purchased their crop and they decided the price of their produce,” said Tomar. Farmers could not carry out inter-state trade either but traders could make profit by selling their crop at higher prices, said Tomar.
“What is farmers’ fault and why is this restriction imposed on them?” he said, adding farmers now could sell their produce from any place be it home, field, warehouse or cold storage. There is no tax on sale and purchase of farm produce undertaken outside mandis, he said.
Asserting that state mandis and state laws will stay, Tomar said farmers had now freedom to sell crops either in mandis or outside mandis.
Tomar also alleged that Congressmen were trying to “confuse” farmers over the issue of ordinances. “I want to ask whether farmers will not benefit if mandi tax on them is removed and if they sell their produce at their own rates,” asked Tomar.
“But Congressmen are trying to mislead the people of Punjab and I want to tell them that the Modi government was committed to welfare of farmers, villages and the poor,” he said.
“After the implementation of this Act (ordinances), farmers’ income will grow and they will get the right price of their produce,” he asserted.
As far as MSP is concerned, it will continue to stay, he said. Tomar also attacked the Congress-led regime over its poll promises made before coming to power in 2017. “In Punjab, there is a Congress government and Captain sahib (Amarinder Singh) is chief minister,” he said.
He said the Congress had promised complete waiver of farmers’ loans besides promising jobs for each unemployed and making Punjab a drug-free state. “But I am pained to state that neither farmers’ debt was waived, nor unemployment was eliminated or Punjab became drug-free,” said Tomar.
“Under the Congress regime, Punjab is moving towards bankruptcy. Corruption is rampant in the state and Punjab is lagging behind in development. The Congress government is fully responsible for this,” he said.
The Union minister said the Central government had always provided assistance for development projects in Punjab.
On June 24, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had convened an all-party meeting to evolve a consensus on the three recent ordinances.
The ruling Congress in the state had expressed apprehensions that these ordinances were a precursor to the disbanding the MSP regime and the assured marketing system.
The Congress had also said the ‘agriculture’ and ‘markets’ are state subjects and these ordinances were against the spirit of cooperative federalism.