Initiate steps to repeal farm laws, Punjab CM urges PM Modi

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday and urged the latter to initiate immediate steps to repeal the three ‘contentious’ farm laws, besides amendming the relevant law to include the farmers in the free legal aid category.

Amarinder Singh’s media advisor Raveen Thukral tweeted after the meeting: “Punjab CM @capt_amarinder calls on PM @narendramodi, seeks immediate steps for repeal of #FarmLaws & amendment to relevant law for including farmers in free legal aid category. #FarmersProtests.”

The Punjab Chief Minister, who called on the Prime Minister here on Wednesday evening and submitted two separate letters, called for immediate review and revocation of the three farm laws which have triggered widespread resentment among the farmers of Punjab and other states, who are protesting on the borders of Delhi since November 26 last year.

Pointing at the prolonged agitation, during which scores of farmers have lost their lives, the Chief Minister said the stir had the potential of posing security threats for Punjab and the country with Pakistan-backed anti-India forces looking to exploit the farmers’ disgruntlement with the government.

Urging the Prime Minister to intervene for expeditious redressal of the farmers’ ‘legitimate’ concerns, the Chief Minister said the continued agitation is not only impacting economic activities in Punjab, but also has the potential to affect the social fabric, especially when political parties and groups take strong positions.

Amarinder Singh noted that earlier too, he had sought the Prime Minister’s appointment for a meeting with an all-party delegation from Punjab.

He further underlined the need to compensate the farmers for the management of paddy straw at Rs 100 per quintal and also to address the fears of DAP shortage, which could aggravate the farmers’ problems and the crisis triggered by the farm laws.

In another letter, the Chief Minister stressed that due to the fragmentation of landholdings, and persistent disputes with lessees and various market operators and agents, the farmers are also facing heightened litigation these days, causing stress to their meagre financial resources.

Stressing the need to reduce the farmers’ financial burdens as a result of such litigation, he noted that the Central Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987 provides free legal aid to certain categories of persons, who are perceived to be the vulnerable sections of the society.

Pointing out that the country’s farmers are also very vulnerable, he said that they are, at times, compelled to commit suicide due to financial problems, even though they remain proud and prefer to till their land even at the cost of their lives.

“It is, thus, the need of the hour to amend Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to include farmers and farm workers in the category of persons entitled to free legal services to pursue and defend themselves in the courts to secure their livelihood,” said Amarinder Singh.

Earlier in the day, the Punjab Chief Minister met Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and sought his approval to set up a bulk drug park in Bathinda.

Amarinder Singh’s meeting with the Prime Minister came a day after he met Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Amit Shah in the national capital.

–IANS

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