Mumbai: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said his Maha Vikas Aghadi government will not hurt the interests of farmers, come what may. Targeting the BJP-led government at the Centre over the three contentious farm laws, he hinted on Thursday that the state government was in no hurry to implement these in Maharashtra.
“Let the Central government do what it wants. Let them bring in any laws, but we will not allow anything that will hurt the interests of farmers in Maharashtra,” he said. The CM was speaking on the occasion of ‘Krishi Din’, celebrated by the agriculture department on the birth anniversary of former CM Vasantrao Naik.
Thackeray said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government was committed to protect the interests of farmers. “The state, the country and the world are run by the hard work of the farmers. Farmers are the glory of the state,” he noted. He assured that the state government would help the farmers despite the financial crisis in the state.
“Farmers need to experiment with new agricultural methods and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government will help them in these. We will do whatever we can for the agricultural sector,” said the CM.
“We understand the uncertainty in agriculture. There are natural calamities that strike and then there are issues of price. We as a government stand firmly with farmers,” he noted.
Thackeray made his stand clear as the state government is facing increasing pressure from various farmers’ to pass a resolution in the ensuing monsoon session of the state legislature on July 5 and 6, opposing the three farm laws. Two days ago, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana founder Raju Shetti and activist Medha Patkar met Thackeray and demanded that the MVA government pass a resolution against the three laws in the legislature to express solidarity with the agitating farmers.
“The Centre introduced the farm laws in a hurry in Parliament. We want the state government to introduce amendments after due discussions in the state legislature,” said Shetti.
The state government has already formed a cabinet subcommittee chaired by Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat to enact its own law to ensure the payment of minimum support price to the farmers and act against traders for its non-payment.
According to a senior minister, the new law envisages imprisonment up to three years for those for cheating farmers. The department of law and judiciary is currently engaged in finalising the legislation.
Further, the new law proposes to make contract farming for just one season and after the season ends, the term of the contract will automatically expire. The trader and the farmer will have to sign a new contract for another season.