Raipur : While discussing the Chhattisgarh Agricultural Produce Market (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the special session of Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly today, Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel said that the new agricultural law introduced by the Central Government is not for the farmers but its actually for the capitalists. He said that Central Government calls for one nation-one market, but when there is one nation and one market, the price must also be one. If central government goes on to implement the system of one nation-one market-one price, then the law would not require amendment. He said that by making three new laws in the agriculture sector, Central Government is rather favouring the capitalists. This new law of Central Government is an attempt to cheat farmers. He said that due to the new laws of Central Government, farmers are losing confidence in the system. He asserted that central government should guarantee procurement of farmers’ produce at support price.
Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel strongly criticized the three agricultural laws passed by Central Government in the Vidhan Sabha Session held today. While underlining the shortcomings of these Central Government laws, he said that we want to protect the interests of our farmers and also the business sector of Chhattisgarh. Chief Minister said that people of Chhattisgarh are innocent. Hence, we take it as our responsibility to protect the interests of farmers and general consumers, by amending the Mandi Bill. Referring to the relief package of Rs 20 lakh crore during the Corona transition period, Chief Minister said that no one got even a single penny from this special package. He referred to the recommendations of Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi and Shanta Ram Committee and raised the matter in the House in a very logical manner. There was silence throughout the House during Chief Minister’s address. Members of the House were seen listening very carefully to the Chief Minister’s arguement in the interest of farmers. He said that Central Government is depriving the farmers of Chhattisgarh from the benefits of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. Central government is confusing the farmers.
Chief Minister questioned the reason behind introduction of the three new laws by Central Government in the agriculture sector. Did any farmer organization or any political party demand a change in the law? During Corona crisis, while people of the country were already struggling with various problems, Central Government chose to bring three new ordinances in agriculture sector, with complete disregard to the interests of the farmers. This is the reason why one of the ministers of a central government ally resigned. Due to these three laws, the NDA’s allies is upset. Many central ministers of NDA have also expressed their disagreement towards this law. Chief Minister further said that Central Government claims these three new laws of agriculture to be beneficial for the farmers. But it is actually misleading, as these laws are no way in the interest of farmers. This law is purely in favour of capitalists. Chief Minister said that this law has been in force in Bihar since 2006, and the resultant current situation of farmers there is miserable. Forget support price, no one in Bihar is willing to procure farmers’ paddy at more than Rs 1300 quintal. He emphasized that when this law could not benefit the farmers of Bihar, then how can it benefit the farmers of the rest of the country.
Expressing disagreement towards the idea of opening private markets under the new law of Central Government, Chief Minister said that this seems like a conspiracy to abolish government mandis. This law would gradually destroy the mandis. Chief Minister said that the way chit fund companies looted people, similarly, the farmers and the common consumers will be looted through these new laws passed by the Central Government. Chief Minister further said that it is the responsibility of Government of India to not just declare the support price but also to ensure that the farmers recieve support price for their produce. State governments function as agencies. He said that when we were procuring paddy from farmers of Chhattisgarh at Rs 2500 per quintal, Government of India banned the provision of bonus for farmers. He said that the UPA government had given bonuses to farmers for purchasing paddy and wheat, whereas at present, we have a government at the center that prevents farmers from giving bonuses.
Chief Minister said that we went to Delhi along with Agriculture Minister and Food Minister to request Central Government for permission to give bonus to the farmers. But our demand was rejected by the Central Government. We were forced to buy farmers’ paddy at a support price instead of Rs 2500 per quintal. To protect interests of the farmers and to give them a fair price for their produce, we have launched the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana. Through this scheme, We are supporting the paddy producing farmers of the state as well as the farmers who grow sugarcane and maize. Chhattisgarh is the state where the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee are being implemented, said Chief minister .
Chief Minister further said that Central Government is continuously ignoring the interests of the State Governments. He said that the Central Government has not released GST fund for the last six months. Central Government is yet to transfer Rs 4000 crore to Chhattisgarh. On this occasion, the Chief Minister termed the changes made by Central Government in the Essential Commodities Bill as harmful to the common people and said that it is a marketing law. It has been amended to benefit the capitalists. As a result of these amendments, the limit of essential commodities storage like food grains, oil, potatoes, onions etc. has been removed. Taking advantage of this amendment, corporates and big businessmen would hoard the produce of farmers at a minimum price. The entire market will be in their possession and goods will be sold at an arbitrary price. He said that the ill effects of this have already started appearing. Prices of potato and onion have increased manifold. This law is against common consumers. Chief Minister, while replying to the questions raised by the opposition members in the House, said that Central Government has fixed the limit for rice procurement this year, which is discriminatory. He said that his proposal to make ethanol from paddy was initially mocked by people. Now the Central Government has accepted our proposal to be beneficial and has given permission to make ethanol from paddy. Rate of ethanol has been declared to be Rs. 54.87. Chief Minister said that State Government has also signed an MoU for making ethanol from surplus quantity of paddy and sugarcane inChhattisgarh. Ethanol production will be started in the state in next one year. This will give farmers a fair price for their produce.
During the discussion, Chief Minister referred to the recommendations of the Shantaram Committee and said that after abolishing the bonus, Central Government is now on a bid to shur down the PDS system. Chief Minister said that PDS system of Chhattisgarh is exemplary for the country. In Chhattisgarh, 98 percent of PDS consumers have ration cards linked to their Aadhaar cards. Contrary to the report of Shantaram Committee, more than 80 percent farmers in Chhattisgarh state are benefited by the support price. Chief Minister also termed the Contract Forming Law of Central Government as fatal for the farmers. He said that we have brought a new law to protect the interests of our farmers. He said that Chhattisgarh government stands in the interest of farmers and will not let their interests be ignored.