Jitendra Bhoi, a maize grower from Maharashtra, has sued two traders for not clearing an outstanding bill of Rs 285,000 under the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020. The bill mandates the buyers to pay cultivators within three days of the transaction. The farmer approached authorities in the first week of October when payments were delayed by four months. The concerned magistrate ordered the buyers to pay immediately or else they will face criminal charges under the new farm law. Bhoi received his dues, and the case was closed on 4th November.
Farm Laws to Benefit Farmers in Long Run
Experts believe that new farm laws will benefit farmers, mostly small and marginal farmers in the long run. The barrier-free trade between States and within the State will empower farmers to get better prices. However, there is a need to address some structural issues to accrue the benefits of farm laws to farmers. The authority provided to sub-divisional magistrates to solve disputes arising out of the farming agreement decreases the bargaining power of farmer’s producer’s organizations. Also, the government maintained silence on MSP in farm laws. Besides, there is a dilution of the role of APMCs.
Protests Continue Against Farm Laws
Despite the government’s assurance, farmers in Punjab continue to protest against the farm bills. Farmers mainly have objected to the absence of MSP in the new farm laws. Farm Unions claim that they want inclusion of minimum support price in the bill. The meeting of farmers’ organizations with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar didn’t resolve the matter. Farmers agreed to clear tracks for only goods train. However, the railways demanded clearing of tracks for both passenger and goods train due to safety concerns.
Finally, farmers have agreed to clear all blockades by the night of 23rd November for 15 days on CM’s request. However, Bharti Kisan Union President Balbir Singh Rajewal warned that farmers wouldn’t hesitate to resume the blockade if the Central government failed to address their concerns within the next fifteen days. Thanking the farmers for their decision, Captain Amarinder Singh assured farmers that he would consider their other demands including sugarcane price hike and clearance of dues.
To sum up, while some farmers are dubious about the new farm laws, others have started using them for their benefit.