Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab on Thursday, appealed to the farmers to strictly maintain law and order, and adhere to all Covid-19 safety protocols, during Bharat Bandh against the Agriculture Bills scheduled for Friday.
According to the official release, Singh said, “while the state government is fully in support with the farmers in their fight against the Bills, and no FIRs will be registered for violation of Section 144, there should be no disturbance of the law and order during the Bandh.”
The chief minister also urged the farmers, and other organisations supporting the Bandh, to maintain social distancing and wear masks at all times.
“The state is already in the midst of a surge in Covid-19 cases, and any violation of precautionary norms could lead to the situation spiralling out of control,” he said.
As per media reports, several farmer organisations have announced ‘Bharat Bandh’ on September 25 to protest against farm Bills passed by Parliament.
On September 20, the Rajya Sabha passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill amid protest from Opposition parties.
As per the bills, farmers can take their produce anywhere — inter-state or intra-state — beyond Agricultural produce market committees (APMCs). The state governments cannot levy any fee or cess on farmers.
According to the Centre, these bills will help small and marginal farms by allowing them to sell produce outside mandis and sign agreements with agri-business firms; and doing away with stock-holding limits on key commodities.