Chhattisgarh passes amendment bill to counter centre’s farm bills

State’s agriculture minister Ravindra Choubey said the bill is aimed at protecting farmers of the state from fluctuating market prices and payment risks.
File photo: Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel.(PTI)
File photo: Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel.(PTI)
Updated on Oct 27, 2020 10:34 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Raipur | ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Sparshita Saxena

The Chhattisgarh assembly on Tuesday approved the Chhattisgarh Krishi Upaj Mandi (Amendment) Bill 2020 that declared the entire state as a market for selling agriculture produce to negate the Centre’s farm laws that allowed private players to directly buy produce from farmers.

Introducing the amendment bill in the House, state’s agriculture minister Ravindra Choubey said it is aimed at protecting farmers of the state from fluctuating market prices and payment risks.

Amendments have been made in the Mandi Act so that farmers can get better prices against their produce. The bill has provision to safeguard the interests of the farmers and at the same time it doesn’t violate any Central laws, thus avoiding confrontation with the Centre, he said.

The minister said the state government could have brought an ordinance and enforce the law but looking at the present scenario across the country, the state decided to call this special session for the purpose, he added.

Speaking over the objective of the bill, Choubey said, “There are 80 percent small and marginal farmers in the state. Since these marginal and small farmers neither have the capacity to store food grains nor to bargain on its prices in the market, it has become necessary to establish ‘Deemed Mandi (Market)’ and electronic trading platform in their benefit so that they can get the right price for their produce without being impacted by market fluctuations”.

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Choubey said in this bill, an amendment Deemed Mandi has been added with Mandi and the state has defined Deemed Mandi as private markets.

The state government may, by another notification, declare/establish deemed market which shall be known as deemed market of the market established under sub-section (l) for the purpose of this Act, sale-purchase, processing and manufacturing, cold storage, silos, warehouse, electronic trading and transaction platform and other such places or structures, in respect of the agricultural produce specified in the schedule.

The amendment bill also has the provision to ensure power to the secretary or any employee of the market committee or the board, who is empowered by the competent authority or notified officers to order production of accounts relating to the purchase and sale of the notified agricultural produce from any person.

Provisions have been added wherein state government departments/officials have been given right to inspection and, if required, seizure as well. They also have the right to inspect storage (godowns) and vehicles and seize if required. The bill has also defined the rights of courts.

The state government may establish an electronic trading platform for the sale of notified agriculture produce. Farmer/seller should sell his produce to the local market as well as other markets of the state and traders of other states through a transparent auction process on the basis of quality to get better price and timely online payment, Chaubey said.

Meanwhile, while discussing the Chhattisgarh Agricultural Produce Market (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the special session of the legislative assembly, chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said that the new agricultural law introduced by the central government is not for the farmers but for the capitalists.

Baghel criticised the three agricultural laws passed by the central government and while underlining the shortcomings of these laws said that the Chattisgarh government wants to protect the interests of farmers and also the business sector of Chhattisgarh.

“People of Chhattisgarh are innocent. Hence, we take it as our responsibility to protect the interests of farmers and general consumers by amending the Mandi Act,” the CM said.

Expressing disagreement towards the idea of opening private markets under the new law of central government, CM said that this seems like a conspiracy to abolish government mandis.

“This law would gradually destroy the mandis,” the chief minister said, adding, “the way chit fund companies looted people, similarly, the farmers and the common consumers will be looted through these new laws passed by the central government”.

(With inputs from PTI)

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