Agri Business

Punjab farm leaders boycott talks with Agriculture Secretary

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 14, 2020 Published on October 14, 2020

Punjab farm leaders were protesting in front of Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi after boycotting the discussion with Agriculture Secretary.   -  BusinessLine

Punjab farmer leaders, who were on the forefront of a 12-day-long protest against recently-passed farm laws, on Wednesday walked out of a meeting called by Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal alleging that the Centre was trying to create a wrong impression that it was interested in solving the problem.

"At the time, the Secretary is meeting us in Krishi Bhavan in the capital, nine Ministers of the Modi government, including one Minister of State for Agriculture, were holding district-level meetings in Punjab, extolling the virtues of the farm laws, which we consider anti-farmer. We realised this meeting is just an eyewash," said Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of Bharatiya Kisan Union-Rajewal, who was present at the meeting.

Rajewal said the farmer leaders submitted a memorandum to the Secretary and asked him what was the point in having any discussion with him as he has no authority to repeal, amend or enact new laws.

Meanwhile, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella organisation of over 200 farmer organisations in the country, said in a statement that farmers and farmworkers in the country would intensify their protest against these three farm, farmer and farm commodity-related laws which it said was forcibly enacted by the Central government.

"The meeting called by the Union Agriculture Secretary with the 31 farmers organisations of Punjab was just an attempt to manage headlines rather than arrive at any solution, which was rightly called-out by the farmer leaders," AIKSCC said. Many of the protesting farmer organisations in Punjab are part of AIKSCC.

The government said, should firstly be ready to review and if necessary repeal the three laws.

Secondly, the government should come forward to legislate minimum support price (MSP) as a legal right.

Major Singh Punnevale, Punjab unit secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), also present in the meeting, also said among their demands were state procurement of different farm produce, and stringent punishment for any trader who is buying any farm produce below MSP.

He said the Agriculture Secretary was not able to answer the question the legislation for assuring price does not have any clause on guaranteed procurement with MSP at C2+50 per cent. Another demand of the farmer delegation was that the Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister should call all farmer organisations in the country for a meeting if they are genuinely interested in ending the farmer agitation.

 

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Published on October 14, 2020
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