Centre seeks names of five farmer leaders for panel on MSP
The Centre has sought five names from the Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) to be included in a committee for discussion on a host of issues, including MSP, and the umbrella body of farmer unions will decide those in its December 4 meeting, farmer leader Darshan Pal said on Tuesday.
The move comes a day after both Houses of Parliament passed a Bill to repeal the three contentious farm laws against which farmers have been protesting for a year.
"Today, the Centre has asked for five names from SKM for the committee that will deliberate on the issue of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. We have not yet decided on the names. We will decide in our December 4 meeting," Pal told PTI.
In a statement on Tuesday, the SKM clarified that its meeting to discuss the pending demands and to decide the future course of the farmers' movement will be held on December 4 instead of Wednesday.
The SKM, an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions, has been spearheading the farmers' movement against the three farm laws and their other demands, including a legal guarantee for MSP.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that a committee would be formed to take decisions on the subjects of promoting zero budgeting-based agriculture, changing crop patterns as per the changing needs of the country, and making MSP more effective and transparent.
He announced this during his address to the nation in which he also stated that the government has decided to repeal the three farm laws, which were at the centre of protests by farmers for the past year.
The prime minister had said the committee will have representatives from the Central and state governments, farmers, agricultural scientists and agricultural economists.
On Monday, representatives of farmer unions of Punjab had said an emergency meeting of the SKM has been called on Wednesday to decide the future course of action.
The SKM, however, clarified, "All constituent organisations of SKM will take stock of the situation and decide the next steps of the farmers' struggle on December 4, as announced earlier. The date of this SKM meeting remains unchanged."
It said the meeting will take place at Singhu border points. Various points raised in the letter to the prime minister earlier will be discussed and future decisions will be taken.
Farmer unions from Haryana will convene a meeting on Wednesday to discuss pending demands and other issues, the statement said.
Farmer leader and SKM member Abhimanyu Kohar said the meeting of the umbrella body will be convened on December 4 as farmers from different states will be present.
"No meeting of SKM is happening tomorrow (Wednesday). All the pending demands of farmers and the Central government's stand will be discussed elaborately in the December 4 meeting of SKM. We will chalk out the strategy of the movement in the meeting and announcement them accordingly," Kohar told PTI.
SKM has demanded that the Union government provide a concrete response to redress their pending demands.
"Vague statements (by government leaders) here and there as a response to the pending demands of protesting farmers are not an acceptable response or assurance from the BJP government. SKM seeks solid assurances on and concrete redressal of the pending demands," it said in the statement.
It claimed Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has indicated that he will act on the instructions of the Centre when it comes to withdrawal of cases "filed against around 48,000 farmers" in his state.
It also condemned the way the Objects and Reasons for the Farm Laws Repeal Bill were articulated by the Centre.
The SKM said the Electricity Amendments Bill, 2021, being listed for business in the ongoing Parliament session, is an "outright reneging" on the commitment made by the Centre to the delegation of farm unions in December last year.
"Similar is the case of penalising farmers for biomass burning in relation to Delhi's air pollution. SKM states that with such manifestations of unreliable behaviour, it is completely obvious why the farm unions will not trust the Government of India on any verbal assurances," SKM said in the statement.
It further said that SKM's demand for Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni's arrest and sacking from the central government is still pending.