Citing the heightened cross-border threat and increased drone and other terrorist activities by ISI-backed groups, including plans by Khalistani oufits to target certain Kisan leaders, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately resume dialogue with the agitating farmers and make concerted efforts to resolve their issues.

The Chief Minister has proposed to lead an all-party delegation from Punjab for discussion with the Prime Minister to find a durable and amicable solution to the vexed problem of the prolonged farmer agitation, which is threatening the social fabric of the state and impacting the economic activities as well.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Captain Amarinder warned that the powers across the border “may try to play upon the charged emotions of our proud, sincere, and hard-working farmers” of Punjab, which has a long and live international border.

“The situation is presently under control but I fear that provocative statements and conduct of some political parties and the emotional backlash might create law and order problems and also lead to irreversible damage to the hard-earned peace in the State,” said the Chief Minister, underscoring the need for the Government of India to address the genuine concerns of the farmers.

The Chief Minister’s letter comes amid rising resentment in Punjab on account of the Farm Laws, which he said he had asked to be reviewed even in his earlier DO letters of June and December 2020. It comes in the backdrop of increase in drone activity along the villages falling with 5-6 kms of Indo-Pak border in Punjab, with consignments of weapons and heroin being delivered into India by Pakistan. Intelligence reports also suggest that with the Assembly elections in Punjab just a few months away, ISI-led Khalistani and Kashmiri terror outfits are planning terrorist actions in the state in the near future.

In his letter, the Chief Minister pointed out that the farmers have been agitating for the past seven months on Delhi-Haryana borders, and also in the State, demanding repeal of these laws and their protests have been more or less peaceful so far. “It is a little unfortunate that the multiple rounds of engagement between the Union Ministers and representatives of farmers' groups have not proved successful,” he said.

Besides the threat to the state’s socio-economic fabric due to the unrest caused by the Farm Laws,  the day-to-day political activities in line with people's democratic rights are also adversely affected due to the agitation, though the State Government has tried its best to maintain law and order, said the Chief Minister.

Highlighting some other issues and concerns of farmers which warranted immediate attention, Captain Amarinder Singh referred to his demi-official letter written to Modi on September 28, 2020 through which he sought to compensate the farmers for the additional cost of managing crop residues at the rate of Rs.100 per quintal of paddy, apart from Minimum Support Price as residue burning always remains a no-cost option for them.

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Noting that this is extremely important to prevent stubble burning in view of anticipated third wave of COVID-19, and its adverse impact on the health of people especially in this region of the country, the Chief Minister said these farmers also needed to be categorically reassured about their concerns regarding the provisioning of MSP and continued public procurement of wheat and paddy. Further, their immediate fears about the hike in prices of fertilizers especially phosphatic fertilizers after October 31, 2021 also required to be addressed, as nearly 60% of DAP consumed in the State would be during November and December for the sowing of wheat, the letter reads.

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