Palampur: Veteran Politician Shanta Kumar has advised protesting farmers to be careful as ongoing agitation has been hijacked by ‘middleman and frustrated opposition.

Shanta Kumar, who was Union Food Supply and Consumer Affairs Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government, while venting out his opinion on social media, stated that agitation has now gone beyond the control of the farmers’ leaders.

Veteran leader claimed that Middleman (Arhtiyas- Bichiloia) from Punjab are funding the agitation. He stated that the Arhtiyas are making huge money and after the implementation of Farm laws, these middlemen won’t be able to get benefited and thus instigating the farmers, Shanta Kumar further added.

He claimed that many farm scientists, intellectuals and prominent writers have supported the bill. Kumar said that the government was trying to take farmers out of clutches of middlemen, but sadly farmers of two states are protesting on their persuasion.     

He accused political parties of Punjab for misleading farmers for their vested interests in farm business. He also advised protesting farmers to start dialogue with the Union Government and get their demands settled amicably.

Large numbers of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, along with trade unions and middlemen are protesting and demanding to repeal the three farm laws that the Union Government had passed during the latest Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Opposition parties had protested the bills and even one of old NDA ally Akali Dal, a political party from Punjab had left the Union government, demanding immediate roll-back of the laws.

The union government has maintained that the reform laws are for their benefit, however, farmers still fear that their livelihood will be severely affected. Government claimed that new laws will give farmers the freedom of choice to sell and purchase their produce inter-state and intra-state. Farmers will also able to engage in direct marketing of their crops and will also be beneficial to traders and consumers as well.

However, protesting farmers are apprehensive that if the new bills become law, they will not get the Minimum Support Price (MSP), as the proposed legislation does not specify any method of determining the ‘guaranteed price’ farmers will get. Farmers fear the government will no longer continue the procurement of farm produce at MSP. However, the union government has assured not to temper with MSP.

Protesting farmers are also apprehensive about the APMC mandis as they believe that these mandis will cease to function and big private players will dictate prices of farm produce.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.