Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 17
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday wrote an eight-page open letter to farmers, reiterating benefits of the three Farm Acts while cautioning them against those trying to mislead them, urging them “with folded hands” to consider the facts without any outside influence.
Tomar said the government is ready to give a written assurance on MSP and address their concerns in the three laws. Stating that most of the farmers are happy with the new farm bills, he said confusion has been created by a certain section as part of a conspiracy. Tomar also said as someone belonging to a farmer’s family he is well aware of the hardships they face as farmers.
This on a day the Supreme Court asked the Centre if it was ready to defer implementation of the three laws that have led to the massive protests by farmers. Tomar’s letter followed a meeting by the BJP’s top brass, apparently to discuss the future course of action amid growing negative perceptions as agitating farmers brave cold, hostile conditions on Delhi borders.
कृषि मंत्री @nstomar जी ने किसान भाई-बहनों को पत्र लिखकर अपनी भावनाएं प्रकट की हैं, एक विनम्र संवाद करने का प्रयास किया है। सभी अन्नदाताओं से मेरा आग्रह है कि वे इसे जरूर पढ़ें। देशवासियों से भी आग्रह है कि वे इसे ज्यादा से ज्यादा लोगों तक पहुंचाएं। https://t.co/9B4d5pyUF1
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 17, 2020
Apparently, the SC indication for setting up a committee with experts, representatives of the government and farmers’ bodies on board to resolve the deadlock is something that may be suitable for the government which is clear that neither repeal nor legislating on the MSP is an option. While the government is offering concessions, protesters outside its doors at the Delhi borders is a situation it will like to end soon. As part of the outreach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address farmers in Madhya Pradesh tomorrow.
So far as SC’s observations today go BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said: “I am not aware of these exact observations so I will not comment. I will only say that so far as the Centre is concerned it had made wide discussions across the country. Anyone in the country who has anything to say is always welcome and the Centre will always welcome any steps for an open and transparent consultation.”
Meanwhile, P Chengal Reddy of the Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations has written to the Chief Justice of India, requesting that “CIFA members and other farmers associations supporting farm reforms initiated by Sharad Joshi and included in Dr M.S. Swaminadan report” be allowed to submit their views before the Supreme Court.
On the other hand, a group of leading economists appealed to the government “to withdraw the Acts and hold extensive consultations with farmer organisations and other stakeholders on what measures would really bring equitable and sustainable benefit to the farmers and the economy”.