Farmers Protest: NCP leader Sharad Pawar urges Centre not to test farmers’ patience
NCP leader: On Friday, former union agricultural minister, Sharad Pawar said that central government was already warned by the opposition parties against passing the controversial farm bills, but it ignored the opposition, but it should no longer ignore the rising farmers’ agitation. The farmers protests, which has entered its third week, represents test of farmers’ patience and inability of the ruling Modi Government to find a resolution.
“When these Bills were tabled before Parliament, it was conveyed to the Government that even though it was possible for them at that moment to clear these important Bills without any discussion, there was bound to be a reaction from the farmers at a later stage. But the Government did not pay heed to this and cleared these Bills with a nominal discussion of 15-20 minutes,” Pawar said.
“Today, the farmers have taken an extreme position that if the state wants a solution out of this present agitation, it needs to first withdraw these Bills … The Centre, however, does not seem to be receptive to this demand and this struggle may be prolonged for a few more days… The farmer is the food provider of our country. It is my request to the Centre that it should not test their patience anymore,” he added.
The NCP leader emphasised that as per the current scenario the scale of the ongoing agitation was only going to escalate further. He said, “I have got information that 700 tractors full of farmers have joined the protests today. If a quick decision is not taken, these protests can spread.” NCP is part of the alliance which is ruling in Maharashtra.
Centre’s inability to take any definitive stand over the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) made farmers more anxious as it left more room to alter things in future. The country’s agricultural community believed that these newly introduced legislations favoured big corporations, leaving vulnerable farmers in a weaker spot
The three contested farm laws included – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Once passed in parliament, the move was immediately met with strong opposition and protests all across the country as the legislation was passed without the consent of opposition leaders.
Despite five rounds of negotiations between farmer unions and government, no resolution has been reached yet. The last round of talks was scheduled for December 9, which got cancelled as the centre government agreed to submit a draft resolution with certain amendments. Internal sources revealed that the centre was expected to propose amendments over the fee structure in notified agricultural produce market committees (APMCs), stronger means to protect farmers’ land rights, and strengthening of regulated markets along with providing guarantee on MSP in the draft. Union minister Amit Shah also held an ‘informal’ meeting with farmers to find a common ground, but in vain. Farmer groups have clarified that they would not budge from their demand of complete repealing of all the three farm laws.