Farmers Discuss Amendments to Essential Commodity Act

The Government cannot hope to have "business as usual" when there is a life and death struggle being waged by ordinary citizens, that too imposed by the Modi government itself, farmers said.

kisan sansad
Twitter/Tractor2twitr

For the last eight months, tens of thousands of agricultural labourers and farmers from all across India have been camping out on several borders surrounding Delhi protesting against the three farm laws brought by the BJP ruled Union government.

On July 24th around 200 farmers started Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar to coincide with the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. Yesterday, continuing the discussion initiated by the Mahila Kisan Sansad on Monday, debated on the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

 

The Debates in Kisan Sansad 

The Kisan Sansad took note of the fact that India’s position in the Global Hunger Index is unacceptably low and continuously deteriorating. It noted that the Amendments brought into the 1955 Act last year have provided legal sanction to hoard foodstuffs and sell them in the black market and that this was designed to favour agribusiness companies and big traders at the expense of common consumers and farmers.

Furthermore, the Sansad which was also attended by a former Judge of Bombay High Court Mr. BG Kolse Patil on Tuesday noted that the de-regulation of food supply chains will lead to domination by big corporate and global food processing and marketing companies. The Sansad took serious cognizance of the need to ensure food security for everyone at affordable prices, a point that Mahila Kisan Sansad had also emphasized on Monday.

Read More: Farmers’ Protest: Historic All Women Sansad Held in Jantar Mantar

The Amendments to the Act allow the government to impose stock limits only in the case of an ‘extraordinary price rise’. Moreover, many entities need not comply with stock limits even in the case of emergencies, due to the exceptions provided even in the severely limited powers of regulation by the government, because of these amendments.

The Kisan Sansad demanded that the Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020 should be repealed by the Parliament.

SKM condemns the attack on farmers’ camp at Tikri Border last night

Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) condemned the attack on the farmers’ camp at village Tamkot on Monday. The attack was carried out by some miscreants and a youth, Gurwinder Singh was critically injured. The possible target of the attackers was farmer leader Ruldu Singh Mansa who used to stay in that camp. SKM has demanded that the Police register a case of intent and attempt to murder and arrest the attackers immediately.

SKM also condemned the defamatory and completely objectionable portrayal of a farmer leader Harinder Lakhowal as a Khalistani supporter by an anti-farmer media house.

Scores of Morchas in Punjab complete 300 days of continuous protests

Dozens of pucca morchas in various locations of Punjab have completed 300 days of continuous protests.

In Mukerian in Hoshiarpur of Punjab, a large gathering of farmers protested against a BJP program with black flags. BJP leaders like Ashwani Sharma, state president of the party, and Union Minister Som Parkash were to take part in this program organised in a temple. Farmers of different unions, once they got information about the same, immediately gathered for a black flag protest, and they showed their resistance peacefully.

Also read: Day 2 of Kisan Sansad: Farmers Discuss APMC Bypass Act

SKM’s Plan for Mission UP

SKM clarified that the plan for Mission Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand will be as per the press release put out yesterday. Marching to Lucknow or laying siege to the city is not part of the agenda of SKM, and no such action is part of Mission UP of SKM. Mr. Rakesh Tikait himself clarified in an interview last evening, that some statements of his were his personal views, and not part of SKM plans. SKM has requested the media to cover Mission UP and Uttarakhand plans of SKM as per the Lucknow dateline press release of 26th July.

Belying the Government of India’s numerous claims about how it works to protect farmers’ interests, in the name of controlling rising prices, the import duty has been brought down to 0% from 10% on masoor/lentil when imported from countries other than the USA and to 20% (from 30%) for imports originating in or exported from the USA.

Union Agriculture Minister had derided the Kisan Sansad by describing it as “nirarthak” or “pointless”. It is precisely because he and the Government of India hold the attitude that farmers’ analysis and explanations are “nirarthak.” The Kisan Andolan has spent more than 8 months on the highways, and lost more than 540 colleagues.

The Minister had also told Opposition MPs on Tuesday that if they are concerned about farmers, they should allow the House to function.

SKM said that the minister has chosen to ignore that the opposition MPs are doing precisely what the farmers have asked them to do, through a “People’s Whip”. The Government cannot hope to have “business as usual” when there is a life and death struggle being waged by ordinary citizens, and one that is imposed by the Modi government itself, farmers said.

Also read: Hundreds of Farmers Conduct Farmers’ Parliament at Jantar Mantar to Repeal Farm Laws

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