Unsatisfied farmer union leaders tear Acts, walk out of meeting with Agriculture Secretary!

Farmer representatives from Punjab walk out of a meeting with Union officials, unhappy with the Centre’s failure in addressing their concerns

farmers protest

As many as 29 farmer union leaders walked out of a meeting with the Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal that was to discuss the three agrarian laws of the Centre on October 14, 2020, said a News 18 report.

While the cause of the walk-out is unclear, news reported said the leaders tore copies of the Acts – the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill – outside Delhi’s Krishi Bhawan.

While one Union leader claimed there was no minister present at the meeting, another representative said there were “unsatisfactory discussions.” According to reports, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was absent from the meeting.

“We want these black laws to be scrapped. The secretary said he’ll communicate our demands further,” said the latter.

A seven-member panel of protesting farmers in Punjab was formed on October 13 to talk to the Centre during the meeting. The panel included leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal, Jagjit singh Dalewal, Jagmohan Singh, Kulwant Singh, Surjit Singh and Satnam Singh Sahni.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) Chief Balbir Singh said that they had decided that all farmers’ bodies representatives would attend the meeting. He said the invitation sent by the secretary of the Union Agriculture Department detailed that the Centre wished to hold talks with the farmers.

However, on October 12, Punjab’s Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee decided not to attend the meeting. Similarly, farmers’ organisations, whose agitation against the laws disrupted rail traffic and severely impacted coal supply to thermal power plants in the state, rejected the Centre’s invitation to participate in a “conference to address their concerns” on October 8.

The Punjab farmers have been at loggerheads with the Central administration ever since the three anti-farmer dubbed laws were forcibly passed in the Parliament. Farmers demand removal of these laws fearing that they will dismantle the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big businesses. While the government assures that the laws will raise farmers’ income, free them from middlemen and usher in farming new technology, the farmers remain apprehensive.


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