Meghalaya Congress demands withdrawal of Farmers’ Bills

The three Bills include – The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance Farm Services, Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Congress party in Meghalaya has decided to submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind with the demand for the immediate withdrawal and repeal of the three Farmers’ Bills passed by the Central government recently in both Houses of Parliament.

“The Anndata farmer and labourers will never forget the conspiracy of the Modi Government to convert ‘the disaster confronting the farmers’ into an ‘opportunity for the capitalists’ under the garb of pandemic. We urge upon your good self to intervene and ensure that these bills are withdrawn and repealed forthwith,” the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee said in the memorandum.

The three Bills include – The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance Farm Services, Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

It alleged the Modi government has unleashed a diabolical conspiracy against India’s farmers and farming sector.

“The Union BJP government is conspiring to defeat the ‘Green Revolution’ by bringing in the captioned anti-farmer bills. This a well-designed conspiracy to destroy the ‘Anndata’ farmer and the agriculture at the altar of a handful of crony capitalists,” the MPCC said.

Stating that 62 crores farmers and farm labourers are agitating across the country, the party said over 250 farmer’s organizations are sitting in Dharna, on hunger strikes and are demonstrating across the length and breadth of India.

“Drunk with power and determined to serve the crony capitalist friends, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be blind to the agony of the farmers and suppress every voice of protest. The Modi government is dictatorially subverting the voice of farmers’ representatives inside the Parliament and has unleashed a draconian ‘Lathi-Danda Regime’ on the protesting farming community,” it alleged.

The MPCC also stated that in these Bills, there is neither any provision for the protection of labourers rights nor for the protection of the rights of the persons, who are engaged in agriculture taking land on rent or on produce sharing basis adding it seems that they have been left to fend for themselves.

It also added that the three Bills are the direct attack on the federal structure of the country. Agriculture and mandis come under the purview of the state governments under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, but the Modi government didn’t consider it worthwhile to take the state governments in confidence on this issue.

“Protection and incentivizing agriculture has been naturally the subject under the domain of the states, but, they were not consulted at all. On the contrary, market fees and rural development funds levied for the development of villages and agriculture was done away unilaterally, which is a flagrant transgression of constitutional provisions,” it further stated.

Earlier, the protest meeting was led by senior party leaders including MPCC working president James S. Lyngdoh, member of district council and MPCC secretary Bajop Pyngrope, and Congress legislator George B Lyngdoh.

In his address, Lyngdoh spoke of the measures that the Bills would unleash on the farmers, which included, end of minimum support price, allowing of unregulated market and entry of rich private business houses, end of cooperative federalism in our Constitution, and tremendous impact on employment in the agricultural sector.

“The party office bearers, MLAs, MDCs, ex-MLAs, ex-MDCs, presidents and members of DCCs and BCCs and chiefs of frontal organisations, departments/cells and social media attended the protest programme,” he informed.

First Published:Sept. 28, 2020, 10:49 p.m.

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