Chandigarh, April 5: Reiterating his full support for the farmers and the Arhtiyas, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday flayed the Central government for encroaching upon the rights of the states in its bid to dominate them, while castigating it one-sided decision to forcibly impose the farm laws and the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) on the state's farming community.
States never faced such problems earlier, the Chief Minister said, slamming the government for trying to destroy the existing relations and systems, that had worked well for more than 100 years, in the name of so-called reforms, which they were trying to impose without taking the stakeholders into confidence. Farmers' Protest: Vacate Delhi, Return to Borders, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Tells Farmers.
Punjab's farmers and arhtiyas have age-old cordial ties, which the Centre was hell-bent on damaging, he said in a statement. Terming the Central government's tough posturing and ill-conceived decisions as being against the basic spirit of federalism, he said: "During his earlier tenure I enjoyed the full confidence and support of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and subsequently of Dr Manmohan Singh, in all major policy decisions/development issues related to Punjab."
Virtually launching the two-day Kisan Mela organized by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, the Chief Minister expressed his total solidarity with the farmers against the black farm laws imposed by Centre, in violation of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution which clearly states that Agriculture is a state subject.
"The Centre has deliberately impinged upon the state's power, thus jeopardizing the basic structure of democracy," he said here. Singh also stressed that the Centre should have taken the farmers into confidence before the enactment of these contentious legislations.
"Had the Centre been sincere about finding a workable solution to this problem, it would have either consulted the Punjab government or the state's farmers, as Punjab alone contributes over 40 per cent of foodgrains to the national pool, " he asserted.
Pointing out that 144 farmers have died so far during their agitation, the Chief Minister said that his government was giving Rs five lakhs and a job to a kin of the deceased farmer, while the Centre continued to be insensitive to their pain.
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