As part of the Centre’s initiative to convince the farming community on the new farm laws in 16 districts of Punjab through video-conferences, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri kicked off a virtual talk with farmers at the BJP office in Amritsar today.
However, the interaction failed to yield the desired result as majority of farmers expressed dissatisfaction with the Acts. On Puri’s insistence, senior BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, who was physically present here, said the whole text of farm laws was being translated and printed in Punjabi language for a better understanding among the farmers.
While answering the farmers’ queries, Puri promised them that the MSP and old mandi pattern would remain intact in addition to private players’ participation to procure the crop. “The sale, lease or mortgage of farmers’ land is nowhere in the law and the land will be protected against any recovery,” Puri said.
Promising an increased MSP for wheat by the Centre in the future, he said the purchase centres, which were 30,349 in 2018-2019, would be increased to 36,130 by 2021, an increase of 30 per cent. He said the Opposition was spreading misinformation among the farmers.
BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said it was a wrong notion that farmers could not knock the door of the courts in case of a dispute. He said the first redressal forum would be at the SDM level. “If the farmers are not satisfied, they may go to the High Court or Supreme Court,” he said.
Nonetheless, Harbhajan Singh, a farmer from Chak Mukand, said the meeting had reached no logical conclusion as most of their queries remained unanswered.
“We are not at all satisfied with the NDA’s ‘self-reliant’ farm Acts. The SDMs seldom respond to a common man’s grievance, until and unless the victim has some political connection. How can we expect justice under such an administrative set-up? If SDMs or DCs are so concerned, why don’t they bother to check the procurement which is being done at a lesser price in mandis?” he said.
Courtesy: The Tribune