HARYANA IS LIKELY to witness another stand-off between farmers and the state government with the farm bodies announcing to stage protests with black flags at all district headquarters on August 15 to oppose three central government ordinances introduced recently.
Farmer outfit leaders have apprehensions that farmers won’t get Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops after introduction of the new provisions. The government has been insisting there won’t be any effect on the provision of MSP after the implementation of the new laws.
However, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Chaduni says, “If the government is so sure about the MSP provision, why doesn’t it introduce a law to guarantee Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops. We will be satisfied on this aspect only after the introduction of an Act. It’s necessary to remove apprehensions and worries of the farmers.”
According to Chaduni, as many as ten farm organisations will participate in the protests to be held on August 15. “We believe that similar protests will be held in Punjab too on the same issue on August 15,” he said.
The ordinances that the farmers are opposing include the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 which were brought by the central government recently. The farmers’ bodies have termed these ordinances as “anti-farmers”.
However, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala says the farmers would be free to sell their crop in a market or area where they would get a good price for their produce with the introduction of the ordinances.
Haryana Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister J P Dalal said the government is encouraging farmers to become entrepreneurs along with pursuing farming. For this, Dalal added, “The central government had recently brought the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 to allow farmers to sell their produce, not only in the mandis of Haryana, but also in mandis of other states as per their wish.”
Similarly, under contract farming, the minister further said, “farmers can enter into an e-contract with any person or bank for their produce”.
“Now they will not be required to mortgage their land with the bank for crop loans,” the minister claimed.
But Chaduni alleges the government functionaries have started misguiding farmers after they staged tractor march on April 20. “As per the new law, there won’t be any tax on the purchase of crops outside the mandis. To be fair, the government should not charge tax from traders on the purchase of crops in mandis too otherwise the concept of mandis will collapse,” argued the farmer leader.
The farm bodies have opposed amendment in Essential Commodity Act, 1955 claiming it will lead to black marketing. “With this ordinance, the government has removed the upper cap on stock of essential commodities. With this, big capitalists may indulge in the black marketing by storing these commodities in excess. Such law won’t benefit the farmers as 80 per cent of the Indian farmers have small land holdings who can’t stock their produce for a long time,” BKU leaders said. Supporting the stir of farmers against three central ordinances, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has already demanded withdrawal of these laws.