Nitish says farmer’s agitation due to misconception, favours talks
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the farmers’ protests are taking place because of misconceptions and favoured dialogues between the government and farmers’ bodies.
“The Central government wants to talk to farmers to dispel the fear of issues in the procurement mechanism. So I believe that dialogue should take place. The protests are happening on account of misconceptions,” said Kumar on the sidelines of a function in Patna.
Kumar backed the farm bills passed by Parliament by recalling that his government had abolished the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act in 2006 and commenced public procurement. “Farmers will not face any problem in procurement as it happened in Bihar,” said the Bihar CM.
He said when the farmers come to the table for talks, their misconceptions will be dispelled. “In Bihar, farmers are not facing any problem. This year too, we have kept the target of procuring 3 million tonnes of foodgrains,” he said.
Kumar had earlier lent support to the farm bill, maintaining that there was nothing wrong in replicating such a model across the country and had alleged that misinformation was being spread about The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Supporting them, he had said that these bills are in the interest of the farmers. The Bihar government replaced agriculture markets with roadside wholesale markets where farmers sell their produce directly to private players. The local municipal bodies, which set up these markets, charge 1% of the selling price each from the farmer and the buyer as a facilitation fee.
Kumar had remarked, “In 2006, we abolished it (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act). Then, we started the procurement process. So, the situation in Bihar is different.”
Farmers have been protesting at various places in Delhi and Haryana and have rejected the Central government’s offer to hold talks on December 3, saying that imposing conditions for starting a dialogue is an insult to them.
Around 32 farmer organisations, mostly from Punjab, and some from Gujarat and Maharashtra managed to reach Delhi on Friday and assembled at the borders where they have continued to protest.
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