Punjab Congress seeks introduction of bill to restrict purchase of farmland | Chandigarh News


CHANDIGARH: Leaders of Punjab Congress on Wednesday submitted a letter to assembly speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwanseeking the introduction of a private member’s bill in the next session to restrict/ban purchase of agricultural land by non-Punjabi in order to protect the identity and demographic balance of the state.
Citing Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy Act1972, leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa and All-India Kissan Congress chairman Sukhpal Singh Khaira requested that the private members bill submitted by them be tabled in the next session of assembly to enact a similar law on pattern of Himachal Pradesh. They said this was being done to protect the identity and existence of future generations.
Both leaders contended that there had been massive population migration of Punjabis to different parts of the world in search of better livelihood during the last few decades. The leaders added that a youth who migrated to countries such as Canada, USA, UK andAustralia on the basis of study visa, work permit or permanent residence basis took along approximately Rs 20 lakh-Rs 25 lakh, and thereafter such remittances continue to flow out of Punjab. As a result, they claimed, the economy of Punjab had worsened over time, particularly in rural parts. “Our agriculture land prices, which were around Rs 40-50 lakh per acre a decade ago, have dropped to less than half Rs 15-20 lakh per acre now,” their letter read.
They claimed that the demographic situation had also started to change drastically. “The identity of Punjabis is under severe threat as lakhs and lakhs of non-Punjabis have started to reside permanently in our state. Apart from the demographic threat, the exodus of Punjabi youth to other countries has led to a sharp drop in representation of Punjabis in central services and armed forces which is a matter of grave concern,” said the leaders.
“As per rough estimates, approximately one-sixth of Punjab’s total population of 2.75 crore, or almost 50 lakh people, have migrated abroad,” said Khaira. He added the trend further escalated during the last few years. Due to the trend of massive migration, Punjab has not only lost its best educated, trained and skilled human resource, but it has also shattered the economy of our state, the letter read.
Khaira warned that if the trend is not nipped in the bud immediately, Punjabis particularly the Sikhs will be in a minority in their own motherland in the next 20-25 years. “It was precisely because of this reason that states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. in order to protect their identity and existence, passed laws in their respective states to bar outsiders from buying agriculture land, thus becoming permanent residents of their states,” he said.


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