“We welcome what the government has done. Farmers need depoliticisation of mandis and agents who have never given a fair share to farmers for their produce,” BKS national secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra told ET. Mishra said the organisation had reached out to farmers in over a lakh villages and agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar with suggestions. “We had suggested that the law must have mechanisms to ensure that a farmer is paid when his produce is lifted, else the government or bank must stand guarantor. The dispute redress system is not adequate in the new law. We need a portal to know who licensed buyers are. We also need assurance that the MSP will not be compromised,” he told ET.
On BKS’ initial opposition, he said “we always talk for benefit of farmers. The ones who are protesting are doing so at the behest of politicians who control APMCs. It is these middlemen who prevent the farmers from getting their due. This is the time of Covid-19. And protests are not the solution. We will start a dialogue process soon to get the loopholes fixed.” Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had said the protests were on behest of ‘middlemen’.
Mishra listed four major shortcomings in the bill. BJP Kisan morcha president and Ballia MP Virendra Singh Mast said that the party has planned a 10-day nationwide faith building exercise among farmers from Wednesday, called Kisan Samvad. “Farmers know what is good for them. Reforms in the farming sector was anyway part of our manifesto and the country’s farmers voted for Modiji, knowing what is good for them. A fear has been generated that MSP will be done away with. We have asked all office bearers of Kisan Morcha to hold meetings at the ‘mandal’ level to tell farmers this is not true.
Bharatiya Kisan Union member Bhupender Chaudhary, however, told ET the idea of ‘one India one market’ would work only for big corporations and big farmers. “The bill says that farmers and corporates can mutually agree on price and conditions of payments. But can farmers with 1-2 acres negotiate with big corporations? The government is making them vulnerable at the hands of powerful people.” Chaudhary said that protests just as the anti-CAA ones are being planned by farmers organisations to oppose the ordinances. “We are sure every farmer will support us, as this is for his or her rights. Eventually, we are talking to villagers to see how the BJP is duping us of our incomes.”