Hyderabad: Demanding the immediate withdrawal of the two farm bills -- The Farmers' and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, farmers organisations and Left parties held a protest demonstration in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada on Monday, September 21. Terming the two bills as anti-farmer and pro-corporate, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an association of 250 farmers’ organisations, has called for a Bharat Bandh on September 25.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will witness the farmers' anger across the country on Bharat Bandh, said Hannan Mollah of All India Kisan Sabha, while addressing a virtual press conference conducted by AIKSCC. “The two farm bills will drastically impact small farmers, end the government’s agriculture marketing system and give control to large corporations over agriculture products,” Mollah said. He added that the farmers will unanimously oppose the laws.
For the past few days, farmers across states such as Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have staged numerous protest demonstrations opposing the bills.
“Earlier this month, AIKSCC has written 100 letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting for discussion on farm bills with farmers’ organisations. There has been no response and the government has passed the bills despite farmers’ outrage,” said Avik Saha of AIKSCC.
“Why didn’t the government send the bills to a select committee as urged by over 15 political parties. The bills were passed by a voice vote instead, despite opposition’s request for division of votes. It is shameful that the YSRC party and Telugu Desam Party competed in supporting the anti-farmers’ bills,” said P Madhu, general secretary of Andhra Pradesh Committee of Communist Party of India (Marxist). While addressing a protest gathering, Madhu said that the BJP government is fooling farmers in the name of “freedom to farmers” but is taking away the government’s protection of markets only to favour the interests of corporates.
Also read: Why New Farm Bills Will Destroy Farmers and Agriculture
Sagar of Telangana Rythu Sangham said that once the bills pave the road for corporate farming, small and marginal farmers will be severely impacted. He added that the corporates may even take away the lands of poor farmers in the name of contracts.
The AIKSCC has also demanded that the President must reject and send back the farm bills.
A joint platform of 10 central trade unions said that the workers will support the farmers’ protests across the country. They are opposing the two farm bills along with the Essential Commodities Amendment Bill.
“The government did not even consider the illiteracy and poverty among larger sections of farmers,” addedd Ravi Kanneganti of Rythu Swarajya Vedika.
“They (agriculture bills) virtually kill the rights and entitlements of the agricultural population. The Essential Commodities Act and related anti-hoarding, anti-black-marketing regulations are going to be curbed. The virtual withdrawal of the government's role in ensuring fair and remunerative prices for farmers’ produce will pave the way for ultimately doing away with government procurement of agricultural produce with minimum support price. In totality, peasant agriculture will be totally ruined, on which survival of more than 60% (of the) population is dependent,” stated the trade unions while saying that they will join the all India protests on September 25.
Also watch: Why Are Farmers Opposing the Farm Bills?