- Negotiations between Amit Shah and farmers failed to break the ice, stir to continue
On one side there was nationwide bandh against three farm laws on the other hand there was a late night meeting between farmer’s delegation and union home minister Amit Shah. While the bandh was successful at many places and not so successful at many other places the talks between Mr. Amit Shah and farmer leaders were as unsuccessful as they have been earlier with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.The talks between Mr. Amit Shah and farmer’s leaders were informal in nature a day ahead of crucial next round meeting between farmer’s leaders and government delegation. The talks between Mr. Amit Shah and farmer leaders were fruitless and the farmer’s leaders have said that they will discuss among themselves to decide whether keep talking with the government delegation or not. Government on its part is playing tricks with the farmers trying to convince them that the new laws are in their interest and has shown even some inclination to amend few laws but the farmers are adamant that all the three laws must be scrapped and nothing short of this is acceptable to them. In the meanwhile the dirty trick department of the government ruling party and a section of shameless media is had let loose all its tricks to defame the farmers movement as they have earlier done with the students of JNU and Jamia,with the agitators of Bhimakoregaon, with the agitators against CAA and so on. Every voice of opposition and every protest against government is branded anti national. These farmers too are being branded as Khalistani paid from China and Pakistan and agitating at the behest of opposition parties specially Congress. This troll army is making things difficult for the government.
The government pushed three laws in September to deregulate the farm market. The laws were passed in hurry without proper discussion in the house. In Rajya Sabha the scene was so vulgar that it was a blot on democracy where the law was passed with voice vote whereas opposition members were demanding voting. The law permits private traders to stock pile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales for this essential commodities act has been scrapped. Government is of the view that it will spur investment in supply chains while the farmers and a common man is concerned that it will only open the flood gate for hoarding, black marketing and profiteering this will make life a poor person hell. Government controlled markets (Mandis) will collapse due to competition from deregulated markets under the new laws as trade in these markets will be free of any fees and services charges. It should be noted that the Mandi samitis all over the country collects billions of rupees in shape of Mandi fees and other charges. This amount is spent in village development like construction of link roads, culverts, opening of schools hospitals beside this lakhs of people including government staff, labourers, palledars etc. will become jobless with the closure of these Mandi samitis. Farmers all over the country specially in Punjab Haryana and UP depend heavily on decades old tightly regulated Mandis tom sell their produce at the assured prices of the government(MSP).
Giving legal status to MSP is another major demand of the farmers. Though the government is assuring that the MSP will always remain there, but once private players are given free hand in farm market MSP will naturally become a show piece and the prices of farm produce will be decided by big fishes in the market and naturally these big fishes will be corporate houses. It is not without an ulterior motive that Ambani took over “Future group”a retail chain company and Adani started constructing giant godowns even before September when the farm amendment laws were passed. Have they got the prior information of these changes in the farm laws? Modi government is adamant that legal status to MSP will not be given but the same Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat and chairman of the consumers affairs committee in 2011 has recommended that no farm trade between farmers and traders be allowed below MSP and for this legal status must be given to MSP.
The free markets which could be even at farmer’s door step or ware house under new laws don’t have any applicable fees for trading farmers feels traders will abandon traditional market. Large traders and intermediaries controls these markets and exert influence over farmers. They buy their produce and often provide credit to farmers creating dependencies.
Contract farming too is another bone of contention. This may make farmers as farm labourers in their own field. The new law provides that in case of any dispute between the farmer and the contractor the farmer could not go to court but will apply in the court of SDM and the before the tribunal however according to the informations the government had shown the inclination to amend it and give farmers the right to appeal before a court of law.
The main issue behind this stir of farmers against these law is that like other sector Modi government is inclined to give farming too to corporate houses this will be a threat not only to the entire agriculture sector but to the food security of the nation also. Agriculture sector must not be allowed to become another Railway, banking sector or PSUs that are being sold to corporate houses. Agriculture has to be saved from the jaws of big sharks to ensure two square meals a day even to the poorest of this country.
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