Finance Minister of Punjab, Manpreet Singh Badal, on Wednesday, said that the only way of achieving a breakthrough is to either put the farm laws in abeyance for six months or let the state governments take a decision.
In an exclusive conversation with CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan, Badal said that the government should rethink its stance and give time to farmers as well to think about the laws, adding that the protesting farmers shouldn’t feel that they are not being listened to.
“My considered view and it has nothing to do with what the Congress party is saying but I feel that if the government of India were to not hold on to prestige or ego and if they could put these laws in abeyance for 6 months and let the government rethink and let the farmer organisations rethink, let them educate each other to the benefits or what is wrong with the bill, I think that could be a way forward, “ he said.
The minister said that agriculture is supposed to be a state subject and the central government does not have any right to legislate on it.
Condemning the incidents of vandalism, Badal said that sabotaging of telecom infrastructure was unacceptable.
“Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has issued a clear directive to law enforcement agencies to track the people involved in damaging the infrastructure and act against them,” he said.
Badal further said that farmer unions have disassociated themselves with such incidents and some villages have even formed committees to safeguard the telecom towers.
According to the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), a registered body of telecom infrastructure providers, at least 1,600 towers have been damaged.
Badal said such acts were not characteristic of Punjabis or of farmers in general. He said there was no reason for farmers to be involved in vandalism.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi border points seeking the withdrawal of three farm laws which were enacted by the government in September.
Badal said his major concern was the evacuation of food stocks lying in Punjab.