School education and public works minister Punjab Vijay Inder Singla, on Sunday, gave a call to Arhtiya community to protest the new draconian farm bills that the central government is trying to force down their throat."I proudly say that I belong to the Arhtiya community that is the strongest link between the government and the farmers. Arhtiyas are the custodians of the Anaj Mandis which are like places of worship in modern agrarian states. We will be forced to hit the roads if the central government does not withdraw these drastic legislations," Singla said while addressing a meeting of Punjab wide Arhtiyas who had called upon him at his residence in Sangrur.He made an appeal to the Arhtiya community to hold a protest rally in the Parliament street apart from calling a "chakka jam" in north India in solidarity with the farmers in their protests against the farm bills. He also appealed them to precisely follow the directions and advisory of health department to avert threat of Covid-19 contraction.Singla expressed apprehensions that 7 lakh people in Punjab will be rendered unemployed and jobless as the new legislations will deliver a deadly blow to the traditional Anaj Mandi system.
He added that the traditional Anaj Mandi system has stood the test of time and central government should take a lesson from Bihar who relinquished the Mandi system in 2006."Once the traditional Mandis were out of the picture, unscrupulous traders started fleecing farmers by procuring crops at rates much below the MSP," Singla said. He also insisted that Arhtiyas in Punjab ensured that farmers got Rs 1925 per quintal for wheat in Punjab while their counterparts in Bihar got just Rs 1050 to Rs 1190 for the same quality of wheat."These bills are the evidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is tilting rules for his ‘Corporate friends’ who will annex the existing agriculture setup to maximize their profits," Singla said asserting that Congress party led state government will not let it happen in Punjab and also oppose in other states of the country.The minister also said that these bills are an assault on federal structure as agriculture is a state subject according to the constitution.He also said that Punjab government under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh will do everything possible to prevent the implementation of these bills as APMC guarded by Arhtiyas contribute Rs 3700 Crore annually to the exchequer. Singla added that Punjab as a state is all within its rights to protect to protect the interests of its people.