Agri Business

Farmer leaders urge government to get serious about talks

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 28, 2020 Published on November 28, 2020

Punjab farmers

Farmer leaders spearheading an agitation for repeal of three Farm Acts recently passed in Parliament on Saturday, urged the government to address the issues raised by farmers and solve them rather than creating “subterfuges about talks with no solution in mind.”

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government is willing to have talks with farmers on December 3, but so far the invitation have been extended only to farmer leaders from Punjab, who have been protesting against the laws for more than two months.

Since Thursday, tens of thousands of farmers from various States, particularly those close to the national capital, have been coming to Delhi demanding the annulling of the farm reform laws that impact agriculture products marketing and support pricing as well as withdrawing the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020, which would put an end to free electricity for farming.

Farmers who responded to a call given by Samyukt Kisan Morcha, consisting of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, and many farmer organisations from Punjab, are still flowing into Delhi. While some farmer groups have accepted the offer of Delhi Police to escort them to Nirankari Samagam Ground in Burari, many others who are the borders of the capital are staying put there rejecting the offer.

In a statement, Samyukt Kisan Morcha criticised Uttar Pradesh government for its brutal, barbaric repressive behaviour against farmers’ protests. Over 8,000 farmers from Uttarakhand headed for Delhi were not allowed to proceed further and detained by the UP Police.

While the Government is still justifying these Acts as helpful to farmers and their income, farmers all over the country want these Acts repealed.

The statement said these Acts will not only undermine public procurement and minimum support price, but also will completely subjugate entire farming to contracts by companies, both Indian and foreign, and will deprive farmers of their land and respectable livelihood.

“Experience of contract farming has been disastrous and farmers know how it increases indebtedness and sale of their land, the farmer leaders said adding that these laws will also destroy the PDS system, lead to loss of control over food costs, promote black marketing and undermine food security.”

Countering the government propaganda that farmers are being egged on by vested interests like political parties and commission agents in this agitation, farmer organisations pointed out that this movement is beyond party politics and any sponsored event would never have seen such massive groundswell of mobilisation, or calm determination to get demands met. They said that the government should stop spreading canards and get down to sincerely addressing farmers’ demands rather than avoid them.

“The lack of sincerity of this government is apparent in numerous ways. Empty assurances and statements will not be believed by farmers any more. The government chose to ignore farmer protests for months on end now, and tried to malign it in numerous ways. It spent crores of rupees of taxpayers’ money in a publicity blitzkrieg in the name of ‘farmers being misinformed’. This very attitude and approach of the government is unacceptable,” said the statement.

The leaders also countered the fact that these protests are mainly Punjab-centric. The government also had extended its invitation for December 3, talks only to Punjab farmer unions, pretending and arguing that other farmers are happy with the reforms.

“It is clear by now from the fact that farmers from various States are attempting to get into Delhi including from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh, that the resistance is pan-India”, the statement added.

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Published on November 28, 2020
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