Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda Friday said the government should immediately promulgate an ordinance spelling out that a private transaction would be valid only if the price paid is not less than the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and that those found purchasing agricultural produce below MSP would be liable for punishment.
He also hit back at the BJP and senior Union ministers, who have been targeting the Congress by saying that contract farming was launched by its Haryana government in 2007 and that its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto had promised repeal of Agricultural Produce Market Committees Act.
“Senior ministers of the BJP government are talking about the Congress manifesto… They are saying contract farming was launched in Haryana in 2007 by the Congress government. I read an interview by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in The Indian Express… Yes, I was the Chief Minister then. Let them go through the contract farming rules my government framed…,” he told The Indian Express.
“Clause 6 of the Contract Farming Rules my government had come out with clearly says ‘the agreed rate/contract shall not be less than minimum support price of the preceding year. The buyer shall deposit an amount up to 15 per cent of the total price of the agricultural produce as per agreed rate or MSP (if the rate is not agreed upon) or bank guarantee for the sum with the committee in which is the land is situated as security’,” he said and asked whether the Bills passed by the central government has “such provisions to protect farmers”.
“The only option before the government now is to promulgate a fourth ordinance which should guarantee the farmer that his crop would be procured not below MSP and mention that any person or entity found purchasing produce below the MSP would be liable for criminal prosecution,” Hooda said.
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