Farm laws should be repealed: Punjab soil scientist who rejected national award

The Fertiliser Association of India awarded Singh for his work in the field of plant nutrition.

Ludhiana: The new farm Acts are not in the interests of farmers and they should be repealed, said Dr. Vardinderpal Singh, Principal Soil Scientist at Department of Soil Sciences, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), who refused an award from the central government on Monday.

The Fertiliser Association of India awarded Singh for his work in the field of plant nutrition. He was supposed to receive the award from Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda at an event in New Delhi on Monday.

But when Singh’s name was announced, he came on stage but refused to accept the award, saying that his conscience would not allow it.

“I returned the award to tell that farmers are right and these laws should be repealed… These laws are not in the interest of farmers. Farmers, not only from Punjab but other parts of the country as well are protesting. No one is listening to them. It is being said that terrorists have come. They are not terrorists, they are farmers,” Singh told ANI on Friday.

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He added, “My mother mocked me that when all intellectuals are returning their awards, I was going to take the award. It is not good.”

The soil scientist said that he did not disrespect the minister by refusing the award.

“I did not disrespect the minister. After the event, I was standing near the minister. I thought that if he has some problem he will say something. But he did not say anything,” he said.

Farmers have been protesting in and around the national capital since November 26 against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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Farmers’ unions have so far held six rounds of talks with the government. After rejecting the Centre’s proposal to amend the recently enacted farm laws, the agitating leaders said that they would intensify their agitation by blocking railway tracks to put pressure on the government to repeal the three Acts.

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