Fact Check

Did the Centre Overlook the Concerns of Protesting Farmer Groups from Punjab?

protesting farmers’ groups

Naturally, the opposition has found an opportunity to corner the Union government over farmers’ protest. As some farmers organisations from Punjab have walked to Delhi to hold dharna, the police have blocked the large crowd, which they are supposed to do considering the alarmed situation of Corona spread in the national capital. This has given room to the opposition to claim that the government is not even ready to discuss with farmers.

Can Centre be Blamed for Neglecting the Protesting Farmers’ Groups?

Is that so? Is the Centre not even ready to address the fear and concerns of farmers one it passed the laws?

On the contrary, facts show that the Centre has made an outreach effort to the farmers. But what one can do if some organisations reject the talk and prefer to show off a march in Delhi?

Back in October itself, the Centre sent an invitation for talks, but the protesting farmers’ groups from Punjab rejected the offer saying that they are not ready to hold talks at officer’s level.

Again, the Centre made an outreach at the Secretary level. Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, shot off a letter to the farmer bodies on October 10 stating that the government was very serious about addressing their concerns regarding the new farm laws. The meeting was arranged on October 14.

This time the farmers organisations walked out of the meeting saying that they can only talk to Union ministers.

This demand of farmers group of meeting only the Union ministers was also respected by the Centre. On November 13, 2020 two ministers from NDA government held meetings with farmers.

Though some farmers’ group met the ministers, it did not see the participation of major protesting groups. Reason? The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee which is at the forefront of farmers protest gave an arguably bizarre reason for not accepting the invitation. Its reservation – “why did only farmers of Punjab get the invitation but no other farmers across the nation?”

It is open to anybody’s review that the whole country except many farmers groups in Punjab have accepted the farm laws. There are reports from Maharashtra that a farmer even used the recent laws to claim compensation from the trader.

In this background, why does any farmers’ organisation demand that the Centre should make an outreach to the places where the problem itself is absent in the first place? This, coupled with the involvement of Congress in this saga gives room to doubt that certain groups want to create a nation-wide unrest in the name of farmers, and they are not interested in finding solution through talks.

As far as the Centre is concerned, even Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that the Centre is always ready to discuss the issue with protesting farmers. Speaking on the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit he said: “As far as the question of purchase of grains at minimum support prices is concerned, it has been continuing and will continue in the future. In fact, the government will purchase more quantities going forward than it has in the past.”

As far as Congress party’s stance on farm laws are concerned, these articles may explain you all the things that you want to know.

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