Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that it was unfortunate that his appeal to call off the farmers’ protest was misinterpreted and given a political twist. Pointing out that the farmers’ fight was with the BJP and the laws formed by the Centre, he reiterated that the multiple protests being held in Punjab were uncalled for and were hurting trade and industry in the state.
Despite his government’s support to their cause, the farmers had misinterpreted his appeal and tried to link it with the upcoming Assembly polls in Punjab, he said. “My government has not only firmly supported the farmers’ fight against the farm laws but had even brought in amendment Bills in the Vidhan Sabha to mitigate their adverse impact,” he said.
Yesterday, for the first time since the farmers’ protest started, Mr Singh expressed concern over how it was adversely affecting the state’s economy.
“If you want to build pressure on the Union government, then shift your protest to Delhi. Do not disturb Punjab with your protests,” the Punjab Chief Minister said, pointing out that he protests were being held at 113 locations in the state. His remarks had upset the farmers and several of their leaders had commented on it off the record.
Continued protests in Punjab will push industry out of the state, which will have a severe impact on the economy. “If things continue in this manner, we will lose out on investment, revenue and employment opportunities,” the Chief Minister warned, adding that this would lead to serious paralysis of the government in Punjab.
Citing specific cases, he said the protests are affecting the movement of wheat stocks and the construction of silos awarded by the Food Corporation of India, as farmer unions were not allowing JCBs and trucks to enter the construction sites.