Farmers ready for talks but without conditions, says BKU leader Rakesh Tikait

Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) [India], July 8 (ANI): Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday that farmers are ready to talk with the government on the farm laws but made it clear that the discussions should be held without conditions.

Tikait was responding to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s remarks earlier today where he said that the government is ready to hold talks with the protesting farmers to discuss other options.
“They are imposing conditions that we should go to them for talks. They say that they can amend the laws but will not scrap them. Farmers have not been protesting for eight months so that they can follow the government’s orders. If the government wants to talk, they can talk, but no conditions should be imposed,” Tikait told ANI.

“They have not engaged in talks for six months. Whenever the government wants to talk, we are ready. We have not received any official letter (for talks). The Andolan will continue till the government wants. The government can do it by talks or by force but our Andolan will not end like this,” he added.

Farmers have been protesting at the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Commenting on the Central government’s decision to allow APMCs to use Rs 1 lakh crore agriculture infrastructure fund, the BKU leader said that APMCs are on the verge of shutting down as purchases are being done outside them.

“They should tell us the system through which mandis will be saved. If produce are purchased outside Mandis, then they will be finished. There are around 40 mandis of Madhya Pradesh and almost zero per cent produce was purchased there. These mandis are on the verge of shutting down. Mandis in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are facing similar problems. What is this formula that APMCs will continue to run despite no sales?” asked Tomar.

“If no purchases are done at mandis, how will they survive? They said APMCs will use Rs 1 lakh crore agriculture infrastructure fund. It may be possible that the government supports APMCs for one or two years but what will happen after that? Mandis will be finished. Mandis are platforms where farmers sell their produce,” he said.

Tikait further said: “When purchase will take place outside mandis, then these mandis will be finished. We are not happy with this. Where will this Rs 1 lakh crore will go? They will purchase outside mandis.”

He claimed that the farmers will not be benefited unless a law is passed on the purchase of produce on Minimum Support Price (MSP). (ANI)
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