Thousands of farmers were tear-gassed at the Haryana-Delhi border today as they tried to march towards Delhi for a massive protest against new farm laws. Groups of farmers, walking with tractors carrying stocks of food and essential supplies, have been trying to enter Delhi from multiple points, defying barricades, many wrapped in barbed wire, and trenches dug up near key roads. After facing tear gas, water cannon in Haryana yesterday, the farmers came up against Delhi policemen firmly blocking their way. Farmers’ organisations behind the protest have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding negotiations and that the farmers are allowed to reach Delhi. Farmers from six states, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab, are heading to Delhi and intend to converge at Ram Lila Maidan in the heart of the city for a protest planned for months. The farmers say 500 organisations are part of it. The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, comprising seven farmers’ organisations, says they have written to the PM asking for negotiations and a site where farmers can assemble.
Government is saying that this bill gave freedom to farmers to sell their products at any place, but my answer is farmers already have freedom they can still sell their crop anywhere but this bill is giving freedom to big corporations to buy from anywhere without any license.
Government is saying the MSP will be continued, but the answer is there is MSP is already on 23 crops, but no crop other than wheat and rice is sold on MSP (for example, MSP on corn crop is 1850 but it is being sold on 700–1100 at present. so if there are no government agencies nobody can assure MSP.
Government is promoting the term ‘open market’ at high level but reality is that, in case of vegetable, onions, orange there is already an open market , for farmers it’s a failed system , the farmers of Punjab and Haryana are quit wealthy because they do not rely on veritable or onions, but cultivate wheat and rice.
You can compare the situation of Bihar’s farmers and Punjab’s ( the only difference is Mandi system, crop of Punjab farmers is procurement by government agencies so farmers get MSP and in other states farmers are exposed to private players.
Kartar Singh Haryana farmer said “Government must adopt Punjab farmer modal in other states to make them wealthy, they must start government procurement on all crops to ensure MSP. They are doing the opposite; they are destroying an already established system of Punjab and Haryana too. At present, any private buyer too can buy crop of any farmers, even more than MSP ( I sold my crops more than MSP to private several times but private merchants have to buy through government registration process only.
Maharashtra farmer, Nivrutti Adarkar said. “Soon we would be joining the farmer’s protest in Delhi; these bills gave an opportunity to private players to buy without any government process and without any fee to the Mandi board. This will lead to distortion of the Government owned Market system, as having no fee; private players will initially buy at high price and attract more farmers. As after some time government agencies will be in loss and they will stop buying, this is an old strategy of the government to show government departments in loss by giving incentives to private, this had happened in case of many governments owned industries.
The farmers are protesting three new laws aimed at bringing reforms by doing away with middlemen and improving farmers’ earnings by allowing them to sell produce anywhere in the country. Farmers and opposition parties allege that the laws will deprive the farmers of guaranteed minimum price for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporates.