Hyderabad/NewDelhi, Sept.21 : Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President & MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the farmers’ Bills passed by the BJP Government in the Parliament would only benefit corporates like Adanis and Ambanis and not the farmers.
Addressing a press conference, along with TPCC Working President & MP A. Revanth Reddy, in the Parliament premises on Monday, Uttam strongly condemned the BJP Government for selling away the interest of farmers to help a few corporates. He announced that the Congress party, in collaboration with the farmers’ organisations, would organise agitation across Telangana State on September 25 against the anti-farmer policies of Modi Govt. He said massive protests would be held at all district headquarters and Assembly constituencies.
Uttam said that the BJP Govt got the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 passed in the Lok Sabha based on its numerical strength in the House. He said the Bills were passed without taking into consideration the objections raised by the Congress and other opposition parties. He said the Central Government behaved in an undemocratic manner when it passed the Bills in Rajya Sabha. He said all rules were flouted and set precedents were not followed while passing the Bills in the Rajya Sabha. All this was done to benefit a few corporations like Ambanis, Adanis, Amazon and Walmart and suppress the rights and interests of the farmers.
The TPCC President said that the Bills have snatched away the protection granted to the farming community by the Constitution and now the private institutions have been given license to exploit the farmers as per their will. He said there was no mention of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to the farmers and no provision has been made to regulate contract farming. He said that the new farm Bills also finished the system of market yards where farmers sell their produce. Citing an instance, he said the system of market yards was abolished in Bihar in the year 2006. Consequently, he said farmers of Bihar were unable to sell their produce at MSP. He said while farmers of Telangana and other States were selling paddy for Rs. 1815 per quintal, Bihar farmers were forced to sell it for just Rs. 1300 per quintal. Similarly, they are getting 30% less amount for maize. With the BJP Govt passing the new Bills, he feared that farmers across the country would face the same plight as the Bihar farmers.
Reddy said that the new law does not specify that the contract price should be above MSP. “It is clear that the new law doesn’t have empowerment, or protection or price assurance for farmers. They are meant to give freedom to companies to do contract farmers, but nothing for farmers. The ECA amendment will promote hoarding of food commodities by corporations. There is absolutely no restriction on farmers or Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) from stocking produce and selling it. The new law promotes hoarding of food commodities by corporates. The new anti-farmer laws will sound the death knell of MSP procurement and market yard purchase systems,” he said.
He also alleged that the Central Government has given up its own power to prevent hoarding and food price inflation. “Only farmers had freedom to stock earlier. Now, companies are also getting unlimited stocking. So, this puts farmers at the mercy of big Agri-Business companies which will control the market. In the name of farmers, the government is completely changing the system in favour of big corporates,” he alleged.(NSS)