‘Govt will benefit from farm laws, not us’: Farmers’ leaders at meeting with centre
As the deadlock over contentious farm laws entered ninth day on Saturday, farmers’ leaders and government are holding a fifth round of talks at Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi. During the meeting, the farmers insisted on a commitment from the government’s side while asserting that they “don’t want any further discussion and want to know what they have decided,” news agency ANI reported.
“We have material with us to last a year. We’ve been on road for past several days. If government wants us to stay on road, we’ve no problem. We won’t take path of non-violence,” news agency ANI quoted farmer leaders as saying at the meeting.
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“We do not want corporate farming. The government will benefit from this law, not the farmer,” they also said, as per ANI report.
Thousands of farmers from Haryana and Punjab are protesting in and around Delhi against the three farm laws, passed by Parliament in September. While the Central government has assured that the laws are in favour of the agriculture sector, farmers have raised concerns regarding the Minimum Support Price (MSP). They also fear that after these laws will leave them at the mercy of big corporates.
Before Saturday’s talks, four rounds of negotiations have taken place between Union ministers and farmers’ representatives. Among them, two rounds of talks took place amid the ongoing protests. So far, the talks have been inconclusive.
However, the Centre did agree to review the recently enacted legislation and bring amendments if required to address the farmers’ demands after Thursday’s discussion. The farmers, however, said that they did not want amendments to the new laws but want them rolled back entirely.
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Meanwhile, the agitating farmers called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’, a nationwide strike, on December 8 where they said they will block all toll plazas and roads leading to Delhi.
The call for the Bharat Bandh was supported by various other farmers’ organisations. Hannan Mollah, general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, said, “We need to take this protest forward.”