Oppn misleading Punjab farmers; will find solution soon: Narendra Singh Tomar
Gwalior, Dec 16: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday said farmers in the entire country are supporting the three agri laws but cultivators from Punjab are being "misled" into protest by Opposition, even as he expressed hope to find a solution "soon" to the ongoing impasse.
Speaking to reporters here, Tomar said talks were being held with farmer organisations, including those from Punjab, and a "solution will be found soon".
"We are talking to farmer organisations and also those from Punjab. We will soon find a solution on the issue. The opposition is trying to mislead farmers, but it will not succeed," Tomar said.
He said the new agriculture reforms will change the lives of the farmers. "Majority of farmers in the country are supporting the new farm laws. Many organisations have met me on this issue. Farmers of Punjab are a little angry, but we will find a solution soon," the minister said.
Later, addressing a programme under the BJP's campaign to educate farmers on the farm laws, Tomar said the government was open for talks with agriculturists 24 hours, but the Congress and Leftist parties are bent on maligning the image of the Narendra Modi government.
"Farmers in the entire country are supporting the new agriculture laws but the Opposition is misleading cultivators from Punjab and therefore they are agitating," Tomar said.
Thousands of farmers, particularly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting for more than two weeks against the three farm laws, saying the new legislation will lead to the dismantling of the MSP (Minimum Support Price) and mandi systems and leave them at the mercy of corporates. Tomar said the Congress had announced in its manifesto about introducing new agriculture laws, "but when the Modi government has done that, they are having problems".
"There are mostly small farmers in the country and recently the government allocated Rs 1.5 lakh crore under the head 'farmers' infrastructure' so that they can do world class farming, and to achieve this purpose, it was necessary to change the old agri laws," the Union minister said.
Tomar claimed the agri laws will not only change the face of agriculture, but also of the country. "The Modi government is sensitive towards the problems of farmers and it has asked farmers to point out provisions which they feel are harmful to them (their interests)," the BJP leader said. The Congress and Left parties are taking advantage of the farmers' protest and are trying to malign the image of the government, he said.
The Union minister said farmers from Madhya Pradesh are supporting these laws while their counterparts in Punjab were being misled on the issue, following which they are agitating. "When the Modi government came to power in 2014, it had clearly stated that the mandate was to transform the country and not just to run a government, and strong decisions had to be taken to achieve this purpose," he said.
When the Modi government took decisions like demonetisation of banknotes of higher denominations and the implementation of GST, the Opposition had said the government will not get re-elected, but in 2019, the BJP returned with more seats, Tomar said. He said the government had decided MSP (Minimum Support Price) on the basis of a report of the M S Swaminathan Committee.
"Earlier, the MSP was given only for wheat and rice, but now it has been given to many other crops also," he said. Addressing the meeting, Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia said the Modi government introduced new farm laws to make farmers "aatmanirbhar" (self-reliant). "In the past, cultivators had to stand in queues for getting seeds and fertilisers, but now these items available to them before time," the Rajya Sabha MP said.
Scindia highlighted various steps taken by PM Modi and Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh to strengthen the agriculture sector.
"The Congress in its poll manifesto had promised to change the agriculture laws when Sharad Pawar was Union agriculture minister, but they have changed tune when in opposition. People and farmers of the country will give them a befitting reply on the issue," he said.