My comments asking farmers to move protests to Delhi or Haryana given ‘political twist’: Punjab CM

Amarinder Singh on Monday had urged farmers to spare Punjab from their protests against the farm laws and advised them to shift their sit-in venues to Delhi borders or in Haryana

Press Trust of India September 15, 2021 08:34:16 IST
My comments asking farmers to move protests to Delhi or Haryana given ‘political twist’: Punjab CM

File photo of Amarinder Singh. Twitter/@INCPunjab

Chandigarh: Facing farmer bodies' flak for asking them to spare Punjab from their protest against the farm laws and hold it at Delhi borders and in Haryana, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday accused farmers' bodies of giving a political twist to his plea.

Terming the farmers' fronts criticism as unfortunate and uncalled for, Singh asserted that their continued stir has caused pain and misery to the people.

Expressing concern that continued farmers' protests will push industry out of the state, adversely affecting its economy, he said it was not the Adanis or the Ambanis whose interests were being hurt by farmers protests. "What is being hurt is the common people of the state and its economy," he asserted.

Several leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha have flayed the Punjab chief minister's appeal to farmers to spare Punjab from their protests. Yogender Yadav of Jai Kisan Andolan called the chief minister's statement very unfortunate and irresponsible, dubbing it as an attempt to divide the farmers of Punjab and Haryana.

Doaba's Azad Kisan Sangharsh Committee president Harpal Singh Sangha claimed Singh was afraid that the farm stir could damage his party's prospects in the upcoming assembly elections. Yet another farmer leader Kulwinder Singh Sandhu, who heads the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha said, We have not paralysed the functioning of any Punjab Government office. Adani and Jio establishments are surely not part of the government.

He claimed the CM was afraid that the Centre may impose President's rule in Punjab and that's why he is making such statements. Chief Minister Singh had on Monday in Hoshiarpur pleaded with farmers to spare Punjab from their protests against the three central farm laws and advised them to shift their sit-in venues to Delhi borders or in Haryana.

Singh had made the appeal arguing that farmers' agitation at 113 places in Punjab was hampering the state's economic development and asked them to mount pressure at the Centre from Delhi borders instead. Singh on Tuesday lamented that the farmers misinterpreted his appeal and tried to link it with the upcoming assembly polls in Punjab. In a statement here, he said his government, as well as the people of Punjab, had always stood with the farmers on the issue of farm laws and it was sad that they were now suffering due to the continued protests of the farming community across the state.

He further said there was no question of trying to split farmers of Punjab and Haryana. Stating that inconveniencing the people of Punjab was not justified, he also rejected the SKM's claims that there was no paralysis of the government in Punjab due to the farmers' protests.

"The Adanis' assets in Punjab were a minuscule 0.8 percent of their total assets and the presence of the Reliance Group stood at a nominal 0.1 percent," said Singh. The losses caused to these industries due to farmers' unrest in the state were too minor to be of any serious concern to them.

"It is the people of Punjab who are suffering due to the disruption of services as a result of the protests, he asserted. The situation is already becoming serious on the grain storage and procurement fronts due to the agitation with the lifting of the stocks by the FCI and state agencies getting obstructed," he said. With the wheat stocks having already completed four years of storage, the unused capacity was getting ruined, and adding to the financial burden on the public exchequer due to payment of guaranteed charges to the silo owners under the hiring agreements, he said.

He revealed that the stocks lying in the FCI Adani silio at Moga alone was worth Rs 480 crore. All the movement of wheat stocks from FCI Adani silo, Moga and FCI silo, Kotkapura has halted due to the ongoing farmers protest, he said.

He added that 1,60,855 MT of wheat stocks of previous crop years stored in the Adani silo, Moga by FCI needs to be liquidated on priority as deterioration of these stocks may lead to losses to the public exchequer. He pointed out that the construction of silos awarded by the FCI in the state was getting delayed as farmer unions were not allowing JCBs and trucks to enter the construction sites.

What is further likely to damage the state's interests is reports of silo concessionaires also considering to shut down the projects being set up in Punjab, he added. If things continue in this manner, we will lose out on investment, revenue and employment opportunities, the Chief Minister warned, adding that this would lead to serious paralysis of the government in Punjab.

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