By Debananda Medak
GUWAHATI: The Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU), Assam unit, along with various other trade unions and employees’ federations on Wednesday staged protests against the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill across the state and said that the passing of the bill was a clear cut attack on the peoples’ kitchen.
CITU Assam general secretary Tapan Sarma said, “The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 will entirely demolish the public distribution system (PDS) in the days to come as items like rice, potato, onion, pulse and others have been excluded from the list of essential commodities. Precisely, the passing of the anti-people bill is a clear cut attack on the peoples’ kitchen.”
Notably, three prominent bills – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill were passed in both the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha last week.
Expressing concern over the recently passed bills, Sarma said, “We are deadly against the bills. The bills are not only anti-farmers but also anti-people. The BJP has completely betrayed the people of the country. It (BJP) has been misusing the peoples’ mandate. They came to power promising to control price hikes.”
Sarma added, “Modi has created history in legitimising the corporate giants to appropriate the farmers’ produce in the country. No governments at the Centre dared to pass a bill ever since the independence that licenses the corporate to hike prices on the essential commodities.”
AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya also stressed the Centre to scrap the bills. He said, “The decisions for passing bills will heavily hit the common men of the country.”
Assam’s Rajya Sabha MP and Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora also participated in a protest along with other MPs of the opposition political parties on Wednesday outside the Sansad Bhavan (Parliament House) against the alleged anti-farmer bills and demanded revocation of the bill.
Bora said, “The Congress and other opposition political parties will keep fighting until the bills are scrapped for the greater interest of the farmers of the country.”
Earlier, Shiromani Akali Dal’s lone minister in the Modi-led NDA government, Harsimrat Kaur Badal quit the cabinet on Thursday, calling the bills “anti-farmer”.