Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, January 24
Aam Aadmi Party Delhi MLA and co-incharge of AAP Punjab Raghav Chaddha said on Sunday that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh knew about the farm laws and was privy to the terms of reference of the high-powered committee constitutes to make and discuss the laws in August 2019, yet he remained silent for a year and did not share the information with the state peasantry.
Chadha also said the chief minister knew about the terms of reference clearly mentioned in the office memorandum, which he claimed would mean large scale privatisation and corporatisation of agriculture in the country.
Chadha, who claimed he was sharing information received by his party through an RTI, said Punjab chief minister didn’t oppose the farm laws well in time, when they could have been withdrawn.
Speaking to the press here on Sunday, Chadha said: “Captain Amarinder Singh said he did not have any information regarding the laws and he or the state was not a member of the committee. He also said the finance minister was sent to the formal meeting because it was financial issue. But the RTI makes it clear that as per an office memorandum dated August 7, 2019, that the chief minister was the seventh member of the high powered committee of CMs constituted by the Prime Minister. He was privy to what the laws entailed since August 2019”.
Reading out from the RTI Chadha said, the Prime Minister approved the revised constitution of a High Powered Committee of Chief Ministers for the ‘Transformation of Indian Agriculture’ on August 7, 2019.
Chadha added in the agenda of the committee, the terms of reference included key three points— Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation Act, 2017; Agricultural Produce and Livestock, Contract farming and Services (promotion and Facilitation Act), 2018; and “to examine various provisions of the Essential Commodity Act and situations that require essential commodity act”.
He added: “The further points of the terms of reference also detailed the privatisation of agriculture”.
Chadha said: “This means Capt Amarinder Singh was aware the laws would lead to the breaking of mandis, weakening or finishing of the MSP law and largely the privatisation of agriculture. He was aware the laws would lead to hoarding and the enslavement of farmers but he chose not to speak about them for a year nor inform farmers or farmer unions”.
“The document was given to every committee member. The AAP questions him why he chose not to tell and prevent the passing of the law? We also ask the CM to share one document with us where you opposed the terms of reference for the laws. If farmers knew the laws, the passing of them could have been stopped beforehand,” he said.
When questioned whether the AAP thinks Punjab chief minister attended the meeting on the laws, Chadha says: “We have not received the minutes of the meeting but since the chief minister was aware of the several points of the terms of the reference of the high powered committee, he clearly knew what the law entailed. And even if we suppose his finance minister attended the meeting at Delhi clearly the CM must have been intimated of what happened”.
The other chief ministers who were members of the high powered committee were then Mahrashtra chief minister Devendra Phadnavis, Haryana’s CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Tomar and Niti Ayog member Ramesh Chand, AAP said.