Review ordinances on farming sector, Amarinder urges PM

‘Apprehension among farmers that assured procurement of produce will stop’

Published - June 15, 2020 11:28 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh with State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh with State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the ordinances issued by the Central government related to the farming sector.

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar has also demanded revocation of what he termed “anti-farmer ordinances”.

Capt. Amarinder, in a letter to the Prime Minister, has sought reconsideration of the three ordinances — for permitting trade in agricultural produce outside the physical boundaries of the set-up of the agricultural market under APMC Act, easing of restrictions under the Essential Commodities Act and facilitating contract farming.

Referring to the specific ordinances, the Chief Minister said the Agriculture Produce Marketing System in Punjab had stood the test of time and served the State and the country well over the last 60 years. However, the changes as per the ordinance dated June 5, 2020, in the agricultural marketing system, had led to widespread apprehension among the farmers of the State that the Union government was planning to withdraw from the assured procurement of food grains produced by them.

‘Market for traders’

He said that there was also another apprehension that the proposed barrier-free nation-wide markets for farmers would really come to mean a nation-wide market for traders, possibly to the detriment of the already debt-ridden and beleaguered farmers of the State, the Chief Minister said.

On the easing of regulation of food grains under the Essential Commodities Act, Capt. Amarinder said it allows exporters, processors or traders to hold large stocks of farm produce without limits, except in certain grave situations like war, natural calamity, famine and extraordinary price rise. The amendment would allow the private players to buy the produce in harvest season, when prices are generally lower, and release it later when prices firm up.

He stated that in the absence of any regulation, States would also have no information about the availability of stocks of commodities within the State.

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