Mandi system, MSP to stay, Centre reiterates in High Court - ECAS Punjab

Mandi system, MSP to stay, Centre reiterates in High Court

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25

The Centre today undertook before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) would continue to function unhindered. Procurement under minimum support price (MSP) would also continue.

In a status report placed before the Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli, it was stated on behalf of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare: "During a dialogue, the Union Government clarified the relevant provisions of the enactments and stated that these are to serve the interest of farmers and will provide additional trade channels, while APMCs will continue to function unhindered. It was categorically stated that procurement under MSP will continue".

Resolve matter: court

  • Observing that the blockade couldn't continue for long, the court said the patience regarding disregard for law was thin and the entire country was bound by the law set out by the Supreme Court
  • It asked the farmer organisations, Centre and the state to cooperate closely and resolve the matter

The assertion, at a time when farmers are marching towards Delhi to protest the farm laws, failed to find favour with counsel for one of the farmers' organisation Baltej Singh Sidhu. He said public sector undertakings were now excluded from the definition of purchasers under the new Acts and alleged assurances regarding MSP were merely verbal.

Appearing before the Bench, Punjab Advocate-General Atul Nanda said, "let's not bleed our own state or country." Nanda said the Punjab Government had designated three Cabinet ministers for past two months to engage with protesting farmers. The state government convinced the protesters to allow movement of goods and passenger trains and the protesters were peaceful.

The Bench observed tremendous loss had been suffered by Punjab. Agitation was not a problem, but blockage of road and railway traffic could not be condoned, it said while verbally observing that it would under the circumstances be forced to pass harsh orders for evicting the protesters. The Bench warned the Union/state governments could also be forced to reconsider or stop benefits, facilities and subsidies availed by protesters.



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