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Agri laws will put farmers at mercy of big corporates: TMC

Agri laws will put farmers at mercy of big corporates: TMC
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Kolkata: Demanding immediate withdrawal of the farm laws, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday claimed that the new agriculture laws would leave small and marginal farmers at the mercy of big corporates.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, TMC MP Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said the assured income of the farmers—which the BJP stated—was just an eyewash. "The big companies will enter into contracts with the farmers directly before the farming season. Initially, the farmers will be befitted. But, soon they will become tools in the hands of the big companies. It reminds us of the Indigo cultivation by the British. To make short term gain, the farmers went ahead with Indigo cultivation. Soon they realised their mistake, but it was too late. So, the farmers Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 will bring disaster to the farmers," she

maintained.

Prices of vegetables such as potatoes and onions have skyrocketed as these have been taken off the essential commodities list, Dr Ghosh Dastidar said, adding that the concept of Minimum Support Price (MSP) has been totally bypassed. "The state government no longer has any control over the prices of these items. The farmers get Rs 12 for a kilogram for potatoes. The same is being sold at Rs 45 to Rs 50 per kg. The Consumers are buying onions at Rs 60 per kg from the market. It has become difficult for the consumers to make both ends meet due to skyrocketing of the prices of essential commodities,"

she said. The way the Centre hurriedly passed the farm laws through an ordinance without going for a parliamentary debate clearly shows that the Union government is anti-farmer and anti-people, she told reporters here.

"Farmers will now be forced to sell their produce to big corporates at prices dictated by the firms. In case of a crop failure, however, these companies are not bound to buy the produce from the agriculturists," the MP said.

She alleged that the BJP government does not procure paddy at support prices from farmers in Bengal despite the state producing the highest quantity of rice in the country. "In 2019- 20, the Food Corporation of India ( FCI) had purchased around 43 per cent of total paddy production in the country at support price ( Uttar Pradesh 71 lakh tones, Telangana 111 lakh tones, Andhra Pradesh 82 lakh tones but it purchased only 71,000

tones from Bengal.

The Bengal government procured 46 lakh tones of paddy at higher than minimum support price to protect farmers," she

claimed.

She claimed that the Bengal government, on the other hand, has always been with the farmers and Kisan Credit Cards have been provided

to them.

The state government is helping everyone to buy farming supplies through the Krishak bandhu (Guaranteed Income) project and provides guaranteed low interest loans via the Kisan Credit Card ( KCC) scheme.

"The state government has waived the cost of mutation fee and arrears of rent. It is also giving subsidies to the farmers for procurement of agricultural machinery. Bangla Swasthya Bima (crop insurance) has compensated farmers for any financial losses. Due to the various pro-farmer schemes, the income of the farmers has gone up 3 times in the state,"

she said.

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