The tussle between the farmers protesting against the recently enacted farm laws and the Centre reached a critical juncture on Wednesday with the Centre giving in writing the amendments it proposes in the controversial farm laws.
It has also assured the farmers on the continuance of Minimum Support Price (MSP)—one of the key issues raised by farmers.
According to the government proposal, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, which, according to the farmers, goes against them, will not be introduced. The government had earlier argued that the laws are meant to monitor power distributors.
Farmers’ concerns will be addressed, says Centre
In a draft proposal sent to 13 agitating farmer unions, the government said it is ready to provide all necessary clarifications on their concerns about the new farm laws. It also offered to make amendments in the laws to address the concerns of farmers in various areas.
To allay fears that big corporates will take over farmlands, the government said though it has been mentioned in the laws, it can further be clarified that no buyer can take loans against farmland nor any such condition will be made to farmers. Amendments can also be made so that state governments can register the traders operating outside mandis. States can also impose tax and cess as they used in the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis on them.
Farmers want repeal of the farm laws
At a meeting held at the Singhu border before the government’s written proposals came in, the farmers decided that they would continue their protest till the government removes the farm laws. “We do not accept any amendment in the laws, we want total removal,” the farmers’ representatives said.
“We will strategise in our meeting and discuss their (Centre’s) proposal. Farmers won’t go back. It’s a matter of respect. Will the government not withdraw laws? Will there be tyranny? If the government is stubborn, so are farmers. The laws have to be withdrawn,” Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, said.
Meeting with Amit Shah fails
When Union home minister Amit Shah invited the representatives of protesting farmers’ groups for talks, there were high hopes that the BJP’s “Chanakya” might be able to put an end to the protest and resolve the issues. However, the late-night meeting of farmers’ representatives and Amit Shah ended in a failure.
The protesting farmers have clarified that they would not settle for anything less than the repeal of the contentious farm legislations.
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