NEW DELHI: Farmer unions on Wednesday rejected the Central government’s proposals on changes in three farm laws and said they would intensify their protest for the repeal of these laws.
The government communicated its stand through a written draft proposal to the farmers in which it agreed to two main amendments regarding the minimum support price (MSP) and the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), but rejected their demand to repeal the three farm laws.
“We reject the government’s proposals,” said Darshan Pal, president of Krantikari Kisan Union, at a joint press conference of farmer unions at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana. The farmer union leaders said that there would be sit-ins at BJP offices and protest demonstrations will be held in many parts of the country on 14 December.
They said that Delhi-Jaipur highway will be blocked on 12 December and added that they are also giving a call to farmers from other parts of the country to reach Delhi. The Jaipur move will disrupt Delhi’s supply chain from another direction as the farmers have planned to block the National Highway 48 that starts from Delhi and connects with Rajasthan via Haryana.
The farmers also made it clear that their protest would also continue in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and other states until the government agrees to their first and major demand of repealing the three farm laws.
Bharatiya Kisan Union national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said all the farmers unions agreed on these points and that the “government’s proposal is unacceptable to us”.
Sarva Hindi Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh leader Shiv Kumar Kakka hit out at the government’s proposal saying “farmers had never wanted a proposal, they sent it on their own”.
The farmers are still insisting that they will not end their agitation till the government scraps these three laws which they say are “anti-farmer”.
In the proposal, the Centre agreed to a written minimum support price (MSP) assurance and uniform tax for private market yard and APMC—a marketing board established by state governments to ensure that farmers are safeguarded from exploitation by large retailers, as well as ensuring that farm to retail price does not touch excessively high levels.
Clearing the apprehension among the farmers that their fields will be attached, the government denied it, saying the provisions in the new laws are very clear. On the issue that big industrialists will take over farmers’ lands and the farmers will be landless, the government’s proposal said that it is already clear in the new law that neither can any loan be availed by the buyer on the structure to be built on the farmer’s land nor such structure can be held hostage by him.
The government had also cleared the misconception on the APMC Act that farmers will be caught in the clutches of private mandis and the mandis established by the mandi samitis will weaken. The government proposed an amendment in which there will be a provision that state governments can impose the registration rule for private mandis. There will also be a provision that the state governments will ensure a similar rate of “cess fee” in private as well as APMC mandis.
The government also said that those approaching the civil courts would now be allowed. Earlier, farmers had sought a rollback of this law.