Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will hold a sit-in today against the three contentious farm laws, which have triggered protests across the country. President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday signed on the three bills - nearly a week after unprecedented drama in parliament - despite requests by several opposition leaders to send them back for discussion.
The Punjab Chief Minister will hold his protest at the ancestral village of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh - Khatkar Kalan.
On Sunday, Captain Amarinder Singh said his government will see if Punjab can amend state laws to protect farmers from any fallout of the three controversial laws.
"We are already consulting with legal and agricultural experts, and all those impacted by the central government's calamitous legislations, to decide on the future course of action," Amarinder Singh said in a statement.
Chief Minister @capt_amarinder Singh terms Presidential assent to Farm Bills as unfortunate & distressing, says his Government exploring all options including possible amedments to state law to protect farmers' interests.— CMO Punjab (@CMOPb) September 27, 2020
Punjab and several other states have witnessed fierce protests by farmers in the last week over the three bills - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill - that were signed by the President on Sunday into laws. The farmers have been blocking highways and train tracks to register their agitation.
In Punjab, the farmers are holding a Rail Roko (block the trains protest), which started last week.
Railways said the protests will affect the movement of essential items. "The disruption of rail services at this time will have a serious impact on freight loading as well as passenger movement. It will affect movement of essential goods," general manager, Northern and North Central Railway Rajiv Chaudhry told news agency PTI last week.
Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh has been a vocal critic of the three legislations, which have been labelled as "anti-farmer" by the opposition.
Last week, as the BJP's oldest ally - Punjab's Akali Dal - quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance, Amarinder Singh tweeted: "Clearly @Akali_Dal_ was left with no choice after @BJP4India exposed that @Officeofssbadal and his SAD were fully party to Anti-Farmer legislations. The end of the coalition is only an outcome of 3 months of deceit...of defending the indefensible and misguiding the Punjab farmer."
Clearly @Akali_Dal_ was left with no choice after @BJP4India exposed that @Officeofssbadal and his SAD were fully party to Anti-Farmer legislations. The end of the coalition is only an outcome of 3 months of deceit...of defending the indefensible and misguiding the Punjab farmer.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) September 26, 2020
While critics say farmers will lose bargaining powers with the entry of private players into the agricultural sector and they won't get a minimum support price for their produce, the government has said the new laws will help small and marginal farmers.