Dhankar takes on Punjab for passing ‘restrictive’ farm Bills

Dhankar said the provision of punishing a trader or a company with imprisonment and fine would be to the disadvantage of the farmer and could be open to misuse.

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Haryana BJP chief Om Prakash Dhankar today criticised the Punjab Government for passing “restrictive” farm Bills in its state assembly and said farmers, instead of being free, would find themselves in a bind.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dhankar said the provision of punishing a trader or a company with imprisonment and fine would be to the disadvantage of the farmer and could be open to misuse.

“If a farmer decides not to sell all his produce and decides to hold on to it for a better price and the market falls, any buyer taking the produce would either have to buy it at the MSP or face punishment. In such a situation, the farmer will be stuck with his stock,” Dhankar said.

He added that either the government should open shops where it can be the last buyer of such leftover produce or this would go against the farmer. “If the Punjab Government does not make a provision of such shops, that means the government is only making empty promises. Also, it is against the farmers’ interest,” Dhankar stated.

Maintaining that a lot of buying and selling was trust-based, he said the traders, sometimes, picked up the produce and released payments to farmers well beforehand. “The farmer, in such a case, can easily claim he was compelled to sell his produce. So, the Bills from Punjab have opened the possibility of registration of FIRs,” he claimed.

Further, he said the Punjab Government had not taken any responsibility for buying of produce other than wheat and paddy. “The Punjab CM has passed a law for something that is purchased by the Centre. Punjab gives nothing for purchase of wheat and paddy, which is procured by the Centre. The Bills are silent on the purchase of crops such as maize, bajra and mustard, which the state government should purchase just like neighbouring Haryana buys these. The government has chosen to stay silent on this issue,” he added.

Kurukshetra: Farmers under the banner of the BKU (Charuni) held a demonstration in Shahabad on Wednesday in protest against the three controversial farm laws and ‘false’ cases registered against BKU leaders. They also burnt an effigy of PM Modi. Rakesh Bains, BKU leader, said: “The government has been trying to suppress the voice of farmers.” TNS

Chandigarh: Independent MLA Balraj Kundu on Wednesday appreciated Punjab for passing “pro-farmer” Bills, which made the purchase of produce below the MSP punishable, and urged Haryana to introduce a Bill on similar lines in the Assembly session scheduled to start on November 5. “The Punjab Government understood the concerns of farmers and drafted the Bills in a manner that the three Central laws are bypassed,” he told the media here. TNS

Chandigarh: Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday challenged Punjab and Rajasthan to procure all crops, including maize, bajra, mustard and sunflower, on MSP. On the three Bills passed by the Punjab Assembly, Khattar said mere passage of the Bills would not benefit farmers and these governments should demonstrate their resolve to improve farmers’ lot by procuring crops on MSP.

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