The Shetkari Sanghatan (SS), the farmers’ organisation founded by late Sharad Joshi, has said the Centre must not withdraw the agri reform laws, but should instead make amendments in keeping with the demands made by the farmers.

SS President Anil Ghanwat said the Centre did not discuss the farm laws in detail with the farmers before introducing them, which has resulted in widespread misinformation. “The government can stay implementation of the laws and amend them after discussions with farmers. However, there is no need to withdraw these laws, which have opened up opportunities for farmers,” he said.

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SS has demanded that the government must allow States to decide about APMCs and contract farming. States should be authorised to make their own laws about the functioning of APMCs, cess and development of mandis. The Centre can provide a framework of guiding principles by making a Model Act.

“The government must scrap the Essential Commodities Act which has resulted in the exploitation of farmers,” Ghanwat said, adding that farmers in Punjab must hold talks with the government and withdraw the agitation.

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The SS has warned that if the government succumbs to pressure from Punjab’s farmers, no government in the future will dare to introduce agri reforms.

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