CHANDIGARH: Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Monday said the Centre should take initiative and restart the dialogue with farmers protesting against the farm laws to find a solution to the issue.
The government has held 11 rounds of negotiation with protesting unions and these have remained inconclusive with regard to rollback of the laws.
“The government should find a solution to this soon. The government should take the initiative and restart the process of dialogue and accept the demands of the farmers,” Hooda told reporters here.
Farmers, mostly from Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi’s borders since November 28 last year demanding rollback of the laws.
The three farm laws, enacted in September last year, have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.
Meanwhile, Hooda was asked to comment on the Enforcement Directorate filing a chargesheet against him and some others, including four retired IAS officers, in a money-laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the allocation of over a dozen industrial plots worth more than Rs 30 crore in the Panchkula area in 2013.
When asked to comment on allegations that the plots were allocated to his “acquaintances”, Hooda said he had earlier also stated that “all this is politically motivated”.
“I have full faith in the judiciary, everything will be crystal clear,” he added.
Lashing out at the BJP-JJP government, Hooda claimed that the dispensation gave preference to the youth of other states in the Sub Divisional Officers’ recruitment in the electricity department.
“On one hand, the government claims that it will give 75 per cent reservation to Haryana residents in private jobs as well, but the government is employing a vast majority of people from other states in other recruitments, instead of local youth.
“In the SDO recruitment, the government has given preference to the youth of other states, bypassing the youth of Haryana. A total of the 99 people have been selected for 90 general category posts, including nine on the waiting list. But out of these 99, only 22 are from Haryana,” Hooda claimed.
He alleged that the policies of the state government have led to job losses.
“The government is cancelling recruitments one after the other on various grounds. First the recruitment of Village Secretary, then PGT Sanskrit teacher and now TGT English has also been cancelled. Educated youths are suffering due to the irregularities of the government,” he said.
The leader of opposition also raised questions on the new sports policy of the government and said the coalition government has completely destroyed the “Padak Lao, Pad Pao (win medals, get posts)” policy of the previous Congress government, which was appreciated by all.
“…The new policy discriminates against paralympic medal winners. The appointment of para-olympians has been restricted to Group-B posts,” he said.
He also lashed out at the coalition government in the state while alleging that unemployment was increasing and corruption was rampant in various spheres.
He also said the state government was continuously increasing VAT rate on petrol-diesel to raise additional revenue and reminded that during Congress’ tenure, diesel was the cheapest in Haryana as the VAT rate on it was just 9.2 percent.
“Now, the VAT rate is almost double,” he said.
Referring to the Special Investigation Team constituted by the Haryana government to probe deaths due to spurious liquor, Hooda said the SIT had submitted its report, but it was not being made public.
“More than 40 people died after drinking spurious liquor in November last year and a big liquor scam was exposed in the state.
“The SIT has submitted its investigation report to the government, but the government is not ready to make it public as many big names will be exposed,” he added.
Replying to a question, Hooda reiterated that the Congress will bring a no confidence motion against this government in the forthcoming session of the state assembly.
He claimed that “voices of dissent” are being heard among the MLAs supporting the government.
“The no-confidence motion will let people know which MLA stands with the government and which MLA stands with farmers,” he added.