CHANDIGARH: Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday hit out at the Centre, describing the farm laws introduced by it as a 'brutal attack' on the federal structure.
In a video on his YouTube channel, the former Punjab minister also batted for assured MSP and government procurement of crops.
The Congress leader said Union government talks of doubling farmers' income but it is taking away the only assured income of theirs.
"These black laws are a brutal attack on India's federal structure. They impinge upon the democratic powers of people of Punjab vested in the state government to legislate upon the issue of agriculture which comes under the state list," Sidhu said.
"Today, they are handing over agriculture to the capitalists. They will come and rule like the East India Company," he alleged.
He said the Union government is handing over agriculture to capitalists as the manufacturing and services sectors are in losses.
"They want that the crony capitalist should rule," said Sidhu slamming the Centre. Sidhu said he dreams of a Punjab where every small farmer has complete freedom and autonomy.
"Those who speak of one nation and one market, pressing it down states throats with complete disregard for their demands, are actually acting unconstitutionally," Sidhu alleged.
The Amritsar MLA said agriculture is the epitome of Punjabi identity and the mandi system in the state was created to protect farmers. He said the mandis help the state fund infrastructure development in rural areas.
Sidhu suggested that farmers should produce and market their own produce with state support.
The Congress leader batted for the minimum support price (MSP) and government procurement of pulses, oilseeds, vegetables, and fruits so that farmers could 'diversify and fulfill the nutritional demands of 3 crore Punjabis with state support'.
"If it's about (Punjab) state lacking resources to support the farmers, then we should crack down upon liquor mafia, sand mafia, transport mafia, cable mafia and all other mafias. The state would be flushed with funds as a result," he said.
On the state government's decision to bring in legislation to counter the Centre's new farm laws, Sidhu said, "I congratulate Punjab for this step, yet this is merely the first step."
He said,"Punjab does not have a government procurement model for any other crop apart from wheat and rice, neither do we have storage capacity nor the marketing ability."
"Today, central foodgrain warehouses are empty. They will buy our rice this year, our wheat next year, then what after that. Our timeline for preparation is just one to three years," he said.
Sidhu had on Monday attended the special session of the state assembly called to counter the Centre's farm laws, for the first time after he resigned from the Punjab Cabinet last year.