Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray

Amid raging controversy over the implementation of three Central agriculture and marketing laws in Maharashtra, various farmers organisations on Tuesday said the farmers should be guaranteed the minimum support price and the contract farming should not harm their interests. These organisations argued that the government should put in place a mechanism whereby the farmers can seek justice if cheated in the contract farming. At the maiden meeting after the state cabinet deferred the implementation of these three laws in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today assured that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government will rectify the shortcomings in the Central laws before making them effective in the state.

Today’s meeting took place a week after the state cabinet has formed a sub-committee to thoroughly examine the provisions of three agriculture laws, hold interaction with various stakeholders, and recommend amendments.

‘’ We have a role to play in the interest of farmers, regardless of which party we belong to. We are not against the central government. But, we also don’t want to blindly support these laws. Errors and omissions in these laws need to be rectified. Before enacting these laws, it was necessary to take everyone into confidence and at least discuss with the farmers' organizations in advance,’’ said Thackeray. He made it clear that the state government was not against development or reform.

‘’Our country is the largest agricultural country in the world. Even after the green revolution, farmers are committing suicide. If we want to make the farmers happy, the laws need to be amended from time to time, said Thackeray.

Kisan Sabha secretary (Maharashtra) Ajit Nawale said there was an objection to the Centre’s proposal allowing farmers to sell their produce outside the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs). ‘’However, farmers should get MSP. In contract farming also the corporates alone should not make money but farmers should get MSP. There is a need for the establishment of agricultural courts on the lines of industrial courts for redressal of farmers' grievances,’’ he noted.

MVA ally the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana founder Raju Shetty also emphasised the need for a fair price for farmers and the government should not remove guaranteed price protection to farmers.

BJP leader Pasha Patel strongly defended the Central laws and argued that it would transform the agriculture sector.

Some participants feared that contract farming would be fraudulent and they suggested that the government should protect farmers' interest.

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Free Press Journal