Govt seeks 5 names from agitating farmers for committee on MSP

Govt seeks 5 names from agitating farmers for committee on MSP
Source: IANS

New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) A day after the three contentious farm laws were repealed in the parliament, Tuesday evening was abuzz with rumours that the government has reached out to the agitating farmers asking them to suggest five names to be included in committee to be formed to discuss farm related issues, including MSP.

After making the announcement on November 19 that his government had decided to repeal the three farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also announced to form a committee comprising representatives of the Centre, state governments, farmers, agriculture scientists and agriculture economists to discuss how Minimum Support Price (MSP) can be made more effective, how zero budget farming can be promoted and how crop patterns can be changed in a scientific manner.

There was no official announcement from the government while the farmers' group seemed divided over the issue as sources from the Singhu border camp site on Delhi outskirts - the headquarters of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the consortium of farmers' organisations that spearheaded the agitation to demand repeal of the three farm laws for over a year - said conflicting things.

One of the SKM leaders, Darshan Pal confirmed that there was a communication that sought five names for SKM to be included in the committee for MSP.

He, however, expressed dismay that the government had not directly approached the SKM either for five names or for withdrawing cases against farmers from Haryana. "The person who called said the Haryana Chief Minister has called a meeting tomorrow to discuss the withdrawal of cases against farmers from Haryana. Don't know why the government is acting like this?" he said.

But a number of other farmers' leaders said there was no official word from any government or political functionary.

The SKM had declared that day that they would wait for the laws to be formally repealed and the government gave a legal standing to MSP. The farmers had also announced to continue their agitation till all their demands - apart from the main demand of repeal of the three laws - are met. Those demands included withdrawal of cases against all the farmers lodged during the the year-long agitation.

Meanwhile, the SKM has clarified that all constituent organisations will take stock of the situation and take decisions about the next steps in the farmers' struggle on December 4, as announced earlier.

"The date of this SKM meeting remains unchanged. This meeting will take place at the Singhu Border. In this meeting, there will be discussion on the various points raised in the letter to the Prime Minister and future decisions will be taken," a statement from the SKM said.

It maintained that vague statements here and there as a response to the pending demands of protesting farmers are not an acceptable response or assurance from BJP governments, and that it sought solid assurances on, and concrete solutions to their pending demands.