Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh meets PM Modi, urges him to initiate steps to repeal farm laws

He said farmers' agitation had potential of posing security threats to Punjab and the country with Pakistan-backed forces looking to exploit farmers' discontent, an official statement said

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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to immediately initiate steps for the repeal of the controversial farm laws.

He also sought amendment to the relevant law for including farmers in free legal aid category, the chief minister's office said.

The Punjab CM, who called on the prime minister in New Delhi late this evening, submitted two separate letters, called for the immediate review and revocation of the three farm laws that have triggered widespread resentment among farmers of Punjab and other states.

Farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders since November 26 last year against the agriculture legislations and have demanded their immediate withdrawal.

The chief minister said the farmers' agitation had the potential of posing security threats to Punjab and the country with Pakistan-backed anti-India forces looking to exploit the farmers' discontent with the government, an official statement said.

He called for the prime minister's intervention for the expeditious redress of the concerns of farmers.

He said the Government of India should explore an enduring solution to end the continued agitation as it was not only impacting economic activities in Punjab but also had the potential to affect the social fabric, especially when political parties and groups take strong positions.

Amarinder Singh noted that he had earlier too sought the prime minister's appointment for a meeting with an all-party delegation from Punjab, his office said.

He also called for the need to compensate farmers for the management of paddy straw at the rate of Rs 100 per quintal and also to address the fears of DAP shortage, which could aggravate the farmers' problems and the crisis triggered by the farm laws.

In another letter, the chief minister stressed that due to the fragmentation of landholdings and persistent disputes with lessees and various market operators and agents, farmers are facing heightened litigation these days that has caused stress on their meagre financial resources.

Stressing the need to reduce the farmers' financial burden as a result of such litigation, he noted that the Central Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 provides free legal aid to certain categories of persons, who are perceived to be the vulnerable sections of society.

Pointing out that the country's farmers are also very vulnerable, he said they are, at times, compelled to commit suicide due to financial problems, even though they remain proud and prefer to till their land even at the cost of their lives.

"It is, thus, the need of the hour to amend Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to include farmers and farm workers in the category of persons entitled to free legal services to pursue and defend themselves in the courts to secure their livelihood," Singh was quoted as saying in the statement.

He felt this step would help reduce cases of farmer suicides and ensure better protection of their legal and financial rights.

The chief minister urged the prime minister to advise the central ministries dealing with farmer welfare and laws to carry out necessary amendments to the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, in the larger interest of farmers.

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