Farmers will discuss Centre’s proposal: Farmer leader Sarwan Pandher

03:15 PM Feb 19, 2024 | PTI |

The Centre’s proposal of buying pulses, maize and cotton by government agencies at MSP will be discussed by farmers, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said on Monday but asserted that they will not back out of their demand for a legal guarantee for minimum support price for crops.


His remarks came after a meeting between farmer leaders and a panel of three Union ministers on Sunday and amid thousands of protesting farmers camping at the Punjab-Haryana border as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march.

Talking to reporters at the Shambhu border point, Pandher said farmers will hold a discussion on the proposal given by the Centre.

Farmers have not backed out of their demand for a law guaranteeing minimum support price (MSP) and never will, he said while replying to a question. Pandher said farmer leaders are going to the Khanauri border point where a farmer died.

On Sunday, a 72-year-old farmer, who was part of the protest there, died of cardiac arrest. Earlier, a 63-year-old farmer had died of heart attack at the Shambhu border point. Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister Arjun Munda and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had held the fourth round of talks with the farmer leaders in Chandigarh.


Besides a legal guarantee for MSP, farmers are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases and ”justice” for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Union Minister Goyal had said, ”Cooperative societies like the NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers Federation) and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) will enter into a contract with those farmers who grow ‘tur dal’, ‘urad dal’, ‘masoor dal’ or maize for buying their crop at MSP for next five years.” ”There will be no limit on the quantity (purchased) and a portal will be developed for this,” he had added.

Goyal has also proposed that the Cotton Corporation of India will buy cotton from farmers at MSP for five years after entering into a legal agreement with them.

Farmer leaders after the meeting had said they will discuss the government’s proposal in their forums on Monday and Tuesday, and thereafter, decide the next course of action.

Pandher had expressed hope about the resolution of their other demands as well, saying that the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march is currently on hold, but will resume at 11 am on February 21 if all the issues are not resolved.

However, Goyal had underlined that the other demands of the farmers were ”deep and policy-driven” and it was not possible to find a resolution without an in-depth discussion.

”Elections are coming and a new government will be formed…discussions on such issues will continue,” he had said.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who was part of the meeting, batted for a legal guarantee for MSP for crops to safeguard the interests of farmers.

The farmers from Punjab began their march to Delhi on Tuesday but were stopped by security personnel at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab’s border with Haryana as they pressed the Centre to accept their demands.


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