Samyukta Kisan Morcha
243rd Day, 27th July 2021
Day 4 of Kisan Sansad debates on Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 – The Amendments brought into 1955 Act are clearly anti-farmer and anti-consumer, meant for food supply to be controlled by big corporates and traders, and need to be repealed
Scores of Morchas in Punjab complete 300 days of continuous protests
(Asian Independent)- Today is the fourth day of the historic Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar. This Sansad debated the Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020, continuing the discussion initiated by the Mahila Kisan Sansad yesterday. The Kisan Sansad took note of the fact that India’s position in the Global Hunger Index is unacceptably low and continuously deteriorating too. It noted that the Amendments brought into the 1955 Act last year have provided legal sanction to hoard and black-market food stuffs, and that this was designed to favour agribusiness companies and big traders at the expense of common consumers and farmers. The Kisan Sansad further noted that the de-regulation of food supply chains will lead to domination by big corporate and global food processing and marketing companies. The Sansad took serious cognisance of the need to ensure food security for everyone at affordable prices, as emphasised by the Mahila Kisan Sansad also yesterday, whereas the Amendments to the Act allow the government to impose stock limits only in the case of “extraordinary price rise”. Worse, many entities need not comply with stock limits even in the case of emergencies, due to the exceptions provided even in the severely limited powers of regulation with government, because of these amendments. The Kisan Sansad resolved that the Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020 should be repealed by the Parliament. One of the Members who participated in the debate of the Kisan Sansad today is a former Judge of Bombay High Court Mr BG Kolse Patil.
SKM clarified that the plan for Mission Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand will be as per the press release put out yesterday. Marching to Lucknow or laying siege to the city is not part of the agenda of SKM, and no such action is part of Mission UP of SKM. Mr Rakesh Tikait himself clarified in an interview last evening about this, that some statements of his were his personal views, and not part of SKM plans. Media is requested to cover Mission UP and Uttarakhand plans of SKM as per the Lucknow dateline press release of 26th July.
Dozens of pucca morchas in various locations of Punjab have completed 300 days of continuous protests.
In Mukerian in Hoshiarpur of Punjab, a large gathering of farmers protested against a BJP program with black flags. BJP leaders like Ashwani Sharma, state president of the party, and Union Minister Som Parkash were to take part in this program organised in a temple. Farmers of different unions, once they got information about the same, immediately gathered for a black flag protest, and they showed their resistance peacefully.
SKM condemns the attack last night on the farmers’ camp at village Tamkot by some miscreants, where a youth Gurwinder Singh was critically injured. The possible target of the attackers was farmer leader Ruldu Singh Mansa who used to stay in that camp. It is demanded that the Police register a case of intent and attempt to murder and arrest the attackers immediately.
SKM also condemns the defamatory and completely objectionable portrayal of a farmer leader Harinder Lakhowal as a Khalistani supporter by an anti-farmer media house.
Belying the Government of India’s numerous claims about how it works to protect farmers’ interests, in the name of controlling rising prices, the import duty on masoor/lentil has been brought down to 0% from 10% imported from countries other than the USA, and to 20% (from 30%) for imports originating in or exported from the USA. Also, Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) meant to boost agri-infrastructure, has been reduced from the present rate of 20% to 10%. SKM condemns these anti-farmer moves by the Government.
Union Agriculture Minister had derided the Kisan Sansad by describing it as “nirarthak” or “pointless”. It is precisely because he and Government of India hold this attitude that farmers’ analysis and explanations are “nirarthak” that the Kisan Andolan has spent more than 8 months on the highways, and lost more than 540 colleagues. The Minister had also told Opposition MPs today that if they are concerned about farmers, they should allow the House to function. The Minister has chosen to ignore that what the Opposition MPs are doing is precisely what the farmers have asked them to do, through a “People’s Whip”. The Government cannot hope to have “business as usual” when there is a life and death struggle being waged by ordinary citizens, that too imposed by the Modi government itself!
Issued by –
Balbir Singh Rajewal, Dr Darshan Pal, Gurnam Singh Charuni, Hannan Mollah, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Shivkumar Sharma ‘Kakkaji’, Yudhvir Singh, Yogendra Yadav