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Navjot Singh Sidhu posted a video on his YouTube channel on the farm support issue

Chandigarh:

On the day the Punjab government was planning to table a bill in the assembly to blunt the effects of the centre’s new farm laws, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu criticised his party’s government in the state for a second time for its crop procurement model and “lack” of storage and marketing abilities.

“Today, Punjab does not have a government procurement model for any other crop apart from wheat and rice. Neither do we have storage capacity nor the marketing ability. Today, the central foodgrain warehouses are empty. They will buy our rice this year, our wheat next year. Then what after that? Our timeline for preparation is just one-three years,” Mr Sidhu said in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.

Mr Sidhu had on October 4 made a similar criticism against his own party at a protest against the centre’s farm laws and while sharing the stage with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. “If Himachal Pradesh can purchase apples why can’t we purchase crops, why can’t we give them MSP?” Mr Sidhu had said.

The Captain Amarinder Singh government in Punjab has been under attack from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the state’s plan to make a law to blunt the centre’s new farm laws, which Punjab says hurts the interests of its farmers.

AAP MLAs on Monday accused the Congress government of not sharing the draft of the bill scheduled to be tabled in the assembly on Tuesday. The opposition MLAs said they would spend the night in the assembly in protest.

“If all is well with Punjab’s agriculture and the only problem is the three new laws, then why have thousands of Punjab’s farmers committed suicide over the last few decades? Today, a bigger question than MSP (minimum support price) is guaranteed government procurement. When there is cheaper rice and wheat available in other states than Punjab, why will the capitalist come here to buy our produce at MSP? Now the question is what will the state government do? The people of Punjab are looking towards us. We cannot show our backs. Nothing will come out of resigning six months before the elections when there will be no buyers for Punjab’s Foodgrain,” Mr Sidhu said.

“We (state government) should give MSP and have government procurement for dal, oilseeds, vegetables and fruit so that farmers can diversify and begin by fulfilling the nutritional demands of three crore people of Punjab,” the Congress leader said.

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