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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Kerala: All 140 MLAs, including lone BJP member, approve resolution against farm laws

The Chief Minister said if the farmers’ agitation continues, Kerala, which is a consumer state, would be badly hit. If the movement of food grains and provisions are affected, the state would be left to starve.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: January 1, 2021 12:59:36 am
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THE KERALA Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution, urging the Union government to accede to the demands of the agitating farmers and take immediate measures to repeal the three contentious farm laws.

The resolution, moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said the national capital is witnessing a historic agitation by farmers. “When legislation cause a great degree of anxiety among the people to be affected by them, the legislative assemblies have the responsibility to consider that anxiety,” the Chief Minister said, expressing solidarity with the farmers.

He said as agriculture is listed as a state subject in the Constitution and a matter that directly affects the states, the Union government should have taken steps to discuss the issue in the inter-state council meeting. “It is a matter of grave concern that these important legislation did not come even under the consideration of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.’’

The resolution said the Union government introduced the farm laws in Parliament at a time the farm sector was facing severe crisis. With the implementation of the laws, farmers fear they would be deprived of the existing minimum support price for food grains. Also, the bargaining power of the farmers would be weakened, giving an advantage to the corporate sector.


How the farm laws affect Kerala

Kerala farmers are not directly impacted by the farm laws as the state does not have mandis. Around 80 per cent of agri-produces are cash crops, with each crop having commodity boards and different market dynamics. Kerala depends upon other states for food grains and pulses. Being a consumer state, Kerala fears that abolition of mandi system would affect its interest and lead to hike in prices.

It said there are no provisions that give legal protection for farmers. Besides, they don’t have the capacity to engage in a legal battle with corporates. The system of government procuring produces at a minimum support price and distributing the same to buyers should remain. Instead, the government has given opportunity for the corporates to usurp the trade of agricultural products. The government has excused itself from the responsibility to ensure fair prices for farmers, the resolution said.

It said food security is also a matter of serious concern. When the government retreats from procurement and distribution, hoarding and black market of food grains would increase, which would eventually endanger food security. Dropping of food grains and pulses from essential commodities Act would worsen the situation.

The Chief Minister said if the farmers’ agitation continues, Kerala, which is a consumer state, would be badly hit. If the movement of food grains and provisions are affected, the state would be left to starve.

“So, the Kerala Assembly requests the Centre to accept the justifiable demands raised by farmers, who are the backbone of the country, and take immediate steps to withdraw the three controversial farm laws,” he said.

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