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Resume talks with farmers, can lead an all-party delegation to Delhi: Amarinder tells Modi

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Photo: @capt_amarinder/Twitter

Chandigarh, July 16 (MNN) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately resume parleys with agitating farmers to resolve their grievances and offered to lead an all-party delegation from the state to hold discussions in Delhi.

He said that cross-border threat from drones and other terrorist activities by ISI-backed groups, including plans by Khalistani elements to target certain farmer leaders, the agitation was “threatening the social fabric of the state and impacting the economic activities as well”.

In a letter to Modi, Amarinder warned that the anti-India powers from across the border “may try to play upon the charged emotions of our proud, sincere, and hardworking farmers” of Punjab, which has a long and live international border.

“The situation is presently under control but I fear that provocative statements and conduct of some political parties and the emotional backlash may create law and order problems and also lead to irreversible damage to the hard-earned peace in Punjab,” the Chief Minister said while underscoring the need for the Indian government to redress the genuine concerns of the farmers.

The Chief Minister had earlier too sought review of the three central farm laws through demi-official letters in June and December 2020.

It comes in the backdrop of increase in drone activity along the Punjab villages falling with 5-6 km of India-Pakistan border, with consignments of weapons and heroin getting delivered into India by Pakistan.

“Intelligence reports also suggest that with the Assembly elections in Punjab just a few months away, ISI-led Khalistani and Kashmiri terror outfits are planning terrorist actions in the state in the near future,” a state government statement said.

“It is a little unfortunate that multiple rounds of engagement between the Union Ministers and representatives of farmers’ have not proved successful,” he said.

Besides the threat to the state’s socio-economic fabric due to the unrest caused by the farm laws, the day-to-day political activities in line with people’s democratic rights were also adversely affected due to the farmers’ agitation, though the state had tried its best to maintain law and order, said the Congress Chief Minister.

He said that he had written to Modi on September 28, 2020 to seek compensate for farmers as additional cost of managing crop residues at the rate of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy, apart from Minimum Support Price as residue burning always remains a no-cost option for them.

Further, the farmers’ fears about the hike in prices of fertilisers, especially phosphate-based fertilisers, after October 31, 2021 also required to be addressed, as nearly 60 per cent of DAP consumed in Punjab would be during November and December for wheat sowing, the letter read.

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