New Delhi [India], September 17 (ANI): As the government moved two bills aimed at 'agriculture marketing reforms' in Lok Sabha, two days after passing the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, the Congress on Thursday termed them as "anti-farmers" and alleged that the "brutal" bills will destroy the livelihood of the farming community.
Addressing a press conference here at Vijay Chowk, outside Parliament, Congress leaders alleged that there is nothing in the bill that protects farmers' rights and improves their situation.
"Even the greatest autocratic ruler also behaves kindly on his birthday but Modi ji is such an arrogant ruler who made black law on his 70th birthday, taking away the livelihood of the peasants and agricultural workers. The country will not forgive the BJP leaders for this brutal attack on the farmers," Congress General Secretary, Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
Surjewala alleged that the bills are a "conspiracy to turn farmers into labourers in their own field."
"We are protesting with farmers and farmers unions against the bills. It is a conspiracy to remove Minimum Support Price (MSP). Agriculture Minister and Prime Minister does not have farming land. They do not have lands so they can not understand the farmers' pain. As per the agriculture census 2015-16, 86.2 farmers own less than two acres of land. How can he (farmers) sell his crops in other mandis? He (farmers) would want to sell his crops in the nearest mandis. They want to help capitalists and later these capitalists will fund them in elections," he added.
Congress Deputy Leader Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said that the laws will bring "death of Indian farmers".
"Since day 1, this government has been eying as to how can they take farmers' land to benefit their capitalist friends. The recent bills are a three-pronged attack on Indian farmers. Farmers are protesting and they are being beaten by police in Haryana and you are saying it is in farmer's interests. If it is so, why are they protesting?" he asked.
Gogoi alleged that "there is not a single clause which protects farmers' rights and helps them."
"Through bills, the government is removing the security shield of MSP and farmers are being asked to go negotiate with Ambani and Adani. They are failing to provide GST compensation to the state and blocking the ways of the state to generate revenue. They want to help capitalists so that they can fund them in elections," Gogoi said.
Lok Sabha MP Ravneet Singh Bittu claimed that there is "no mention of MSP" in the bills brought by the central government.
"We have raised the issue in Parliament. The ordinances came on June 5. They have fixed the MSP of maize at Rs 1,260. But it was sold out at Rs 700 after the ordinance. Even the oldest allies of NDA, Akali Dal is against the bill because it is not in the favour of farmers. It is a black day for farmers that they are passing the bill on PM Modi's birthday. Farmers are protesting, the government needs to talk to them," he said.
Earlier in the day, Congress MPs from Punjab -- Bittu, Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Jasbir Singh Gill, and Dr Amar Singh -- burnt copies of farm-related bills, in Parliament premises.
Lok Sabha had on Tuesday passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that allows the central government to regulate the supply of some food items only under extraordinary circumstances which may include war, famine, extraordinary price rise, and natural calamity of grave nature. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which will replace an ordinance, provides that Stock limits may be imposed on agricultural produce only if there is a steep price rise.
The Lok Sabha on Thursday took up the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 together for discussion.
The bills seek to replace two ordinances brought by the government earlier this year.
Moving the two bills for discussion in the House, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said they were in the interest of farmers and provide them with the freedom to sell their produce. Tomar said that the bills will lead to more investment in agriculture and help improve the income of farmers. (ANI)