Centre offers to buy 5 crops on MSP, says must diversify : The Tribune India

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Centre offers to buy 5 crops on MSP, says must diversify

Proposes procurement of cotton, maize, arhar, tur, urad by agencies

Centre offers to buy 5 crops on MSP, says must diversify

Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda and Nityanand Rai address the media in Chandigarh on Sunday. VICKY

Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, February 18

To end the deadlock with protesting farmers, the Centre tonight offered to give guarantees on buying five crops from farmers at the minimum support price (MSP). This was the fourth round of talks between farmer leaders and the Centre.

NAFED, NCCF, CCI to sign 5-year pacts; ball in farmers’ court

  • NCCF, NAFED to enter 5-year deal with farmers to buy pulses at MSP
  • Cotton Corporation of India to also sign 5-year pact to buy cotton crop at MSP
  • Farmer leaders to inform by Monday about their decision on the proposals
  • Government says will draw concrete plan once farmers give their consent

Net services suspended in parts of punjab till feb 24

The Centre has ordered suspension of Internet services in most parts of Patiala, Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib till February 24. The AAP Govt has slammed the move.

The crops which the Centre has proposed to buy on assured MSP include three pulses — tur, masoor and urad — besides cotton and maize. It is proposed that central agencies such as the NCCF, NAFED and the Cotton Corporation of India will sign a contract for five years to buy the crops from the farmers. The farmer leaders have been asked by the three-member Central team comprising Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Arjun Munda, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal and Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai to discuss their proposal and give their nod, before a concrete plan is discussed and implemented.

The meeting began at 8.10 pm, two hours after the scheduled time, and talks were held for over four hours. Union minister Piyush Goyal said the meeting with the farmer leaders was held in a positive environment. “Our government has procured crops for Rs 18 lakh crore, PM Kisan has been rolled out and subsidy on fertilisers has been increased three-fold. The proposal given to the leaders today will be beneficial to all farmers of Punjab and Haryana. Farmers who go in for diversification in agriculture to cultivate these crops instead of paddy, will benefit,” he said. Goyal said the farmer leaders would convey their decision regarding their proposal by Monday morning. He hoped that the farmers would call off their protest now.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who was also present at the meeting along with state Agriculture Minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian, said he acted as the advocate of the farmers. “We spend crores on importing pulses from Mozambique. If our farmers get a good price and assured buyback, it will be a win-win situation,” he said, adding that he hoped peace would prevail. Already, two farmers had died during the protest, he rued.

During the meeting, discussions on debt waiver and fixing prices of crops in accordance with the formula given in the Swaminathan Commission report were also held between the 14 farmer union leaders and the Central team.

The meeting began with the farmers demanding that all of them should observe two-minute silence as a mark of respect to farmer Gian Singh, who died during the protest at Shambhu on Friday. The Centre, said sources, also offered to fix the MSP on crops based on the A2+FL formula (which includes cost incurred by farmer and family labour), but farmers want the cost of the crops fixed on a more comprehensive formula.

The meeting was held five days after the farmers, under the aegis of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, started their “Dilli Chalo” protest march that has been confined to the borders of the state with Haryana. The pressure on both sides, besides the Punjab Government, was palpable.

While the farmer leaders are under pressure as the protesters, who have been stopped from marching to Delhi, are getting restive, the government is also under pressure as it fears that if the issues are not resolved now, many other farmer unions may join the protest. Already, the largest farmer union in the state, the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), while supporting the demands raised by the protesting unions, has launched its own separate agitation of making toll plazas free for all traffic. Today, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha too has announced its targeted demonstrations in Punjab against BJP leaders from February 20-22 and to observe a nationwide “black flag day” on February 21.

The state government too is under pressure as it knows that if the farmers are not allowed to breach the multi-tier barricades of the Haryana Police and march forward, they will be confined to the state and will hold their protest on the state borders. The government fears this could lead to an “economic blockade” of the state.

The farmer leaders who took part in the meeting were Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Sarwan Singh Pandher and Surjit Singh Phul among others.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Agriculture #Minimum Support Price MSP

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