With Punjab’s farmers’ organisations continuing with their agitation against the farm laws, the Ministry of Agriculture has once again invited them for a meeting on October 14.
Beginning October 13, the BJP has lined up its Cabinet ministers to address farmers, arhtiyas, agriculture experts, educationists and the media over eight consecutive days in a bid to counter the protests.
The ministers namely Hardeep Singh Puri, Kailash Chowdhary, Smriti Irani, Anurag Thakur, Dr Sanjiv Kumar Balia, Som Parkash, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Dr Jitendra Singh will address and answer queries over farm bills in district-specific video conferences.
The farmers’ organisations had last week rejected the Union agriculture department’s invitation to participate in a “conference to address their concerns” on October 8. “We have received an invitation for a meeting on October 14,” said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda).
“Though the invite has come from the agriculture secretary, it mentions that the central government wants to talk to farmers,” he said. “All farmers’ organisations will decide whether to go to Delhi for talks in a meeting slated for October 13 in Jalandhar,” he added. Farmers in Punjab have been demanding that these three laws be repealed.
Farmers from Amritsar, Ferozpur in Punjab have been holding a ‘rail roko’ agitation against the “anti-farmer” laws, with protesters squatting on railway tracks at various places in the state since September 24. In Haryana, farmers are protesting in sporadic manner across the state.
Farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws will destroy the minimum support price mechanism, end Agricultural Produce Market Committees and allow corporates to arm-twist them. The Government, however, has been saying that these laws, which were passed by Parliament recently amid a vociferous
Opposition protest, will raise farmers’ income, free them from the clutches of the middleman and usher in new technology in farming.