'Pvt companies developed 38 farm markets in last 3 years'

Pvt companies developed 38 farm markets in last 3 years

New Delhi: It seems the farmers' worry over the government's plan to open agriculture sector for private players has some substance as the private entities have invested to the tune of Rs 301.19 crore in the last three years, including the current fiscal, and established 38 markets.

A 'huge' amount of investments by private players in the years when there was no talk about the controversial clauses of three farm laws have raised the eyebrows of many as farmers have alleged that the private players were in the knowhow of the new farm laws which have been 'designed to suit' the interests of private players.

The startling revelation has come to notice in reply to a question asked by Sumalatha Ambareesh, an independent MP representing Mandya constituency in Karnataka, and BJP MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, who represents Dakshina Kannada constituency.

In reply to a question pertaining to the total number of private entities which have invested in farm sector markets during the last three years, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stated in his statement that as per the information available from state governments, a total number of 38 private entities have developed farm sector markets during the last three years including the current year involving the total investment of Rs 301.19 crore.

Among the 38 markets, private players have established 18 markets in Maharashtra with an investment of Rs 88.62 crore followed by 12 markets in Rajasthan with an investment of Rs 49.75 crore. The private players have invested Rs 151.6 crore in Gujarat to establish six markets and Rs11.22 crore has been invested in Karnataka for establishing two markets.

In response to another question, the agriculture minister told the House that as per National Commission on Farmers' Report (2006), there should be one market to serve 80 sqkm whereas presently one regulated market serves 473 sqkm.

"Therefore, in order to realise more number of markets in the country and to induce competitiveness and efficiency in the marketing ecosystem, there is a felt need for investment in farm sector marketing. Farm laws aim at promoting agriculture marketing infrastructure and supply chain for efficiently connecting farm gate to markets for benefits of farmers' by encouraging investments," he said in his statement.

Holding the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for bringing contentious farm laws that are aimed at making farmers land-less, Bharatiya Kisan Union's leader Dharmendra Malik said, "Such as huge investment by private players in the agriculture sector make it very clear that the DPR of private players reach Prime Minister's Office much before the introduction of new laws."

"When there was no discussion about bringing new corporate-friendly agri laws then how these private players went on to acquire acres of lands for building godowns. The government is helping its corporate friends as the agriculture sector is now a mulching cow," Malik said, adding that the farmers' wouldn't let it happen and struggle till last breath to protect our lands.

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