Responding to the letter sent to them by the Centre on Monday, inviting them for another round of talks on December 30, farmers unions said that the letter indicates that the central government is being clever with words and not willing to discuss the agenda proposed by farmers organisations.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) accused the government of finding reasons to blame farmers in order to cover up its ‘consistent, adamant’ stand of continuing with the three farm laws and Electricity Bill 2020.
“Like this letter, every letter talked of reforming the Acts, which was its precondition asserted ‘with open mind’. Initially it (Centre) linked farmers to Khalistanis, extremists, terrorists. Then it squarely linked farmers to Congress and opposition parties and said they were misled, a charge which continues. Then it asked for a date, pretending that farmers are not coming forward. Now that the time and agenda have been set by farmers, the GOI is talking success if there is no ‘politicisation’ and not accepting the full agenda proposed by farmers,” said AIKSCC, adding that it hopes that the government will not remain adamant and come forward with an open mind.
“To cover up its refusal on withdrawing Acts is arrogant and shameful,” said AIKSCC.
The Monday letter was the Centre’s reply to a letter from farmer organisations sent to the Centre on December 26.
Farmers unions called the Centre’s response “woefully short of any attempt to resolve issues”. They said they want a meeting with the Centre only on four points which included — one, modalities to be adopted for the repeal of the three central farm Acts, second, mechanisms to be adopted to make remunerative MSP recommended by the National Farmers’ Commission into a legally guaranteed entitlement for all farmers and all agricultural commodities, thirdly, amendments to be made and notified in the Commission for air quality management in the National Capital Region Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020, to exclude farmers from the penal provisions of the Ordinance and finally, changes to be made in the draft Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 to protect the interest of farmers.
AIKSCC said that the government has used “vague and non-specific language, indicating its willingness to discuss the full agenda items proposed by farmers.”
AIKSCC further said that the government has taken a very unreasonable position based on wrong facts on the issue of MSP, saying it is already giving MSP, and it is ready to give an assurance. While the government does not give MSP as per the National Farmers Policy, C2+50%, very few farmers get what is declared, which highlights the farmers’ misery and the government’s wrong claim. The demand is for a law to ensure the C2+50% price for all crops with an assured environment for procurement from all. While these new laws take away all existing rights, including the meagre MSP, the demand for repeal relates to first restoration of all existing rights and then appraisal of other demands.
It also countered Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s “wrong assertion” that land of farmers will not go. It has appealed to him to read sections 9 and 14 of the Contract Act. “Also, his appeal to allow the farm laws to play out for two years is an unfortunate statement from a senior politician — if these laws are allowed to be implemented, there will be nothing to discuss after two years — agriculture, agri-produce marketing and food chain of the nation will by then be firmly in the clutches of crony capitalists and monopolists,” the AIKSCC said.
The farmers’ movement continues to gain strength with new forces joining dharnas every day. The strength at Ghazipur, Shahjahanpur has risen and on December 31, a tractor rally is scheduled to start from the Singhu border, but farmers can rethink it if some conclusion takes place about their demands at the December 30 meeting.