Monday, July 4, 2022

REFUSAL TO ENACT MSP GUARANTEE LAW WILL BE POLITICALLY COSTLY FOR UNION AND STATE GOVTS: JAI KISAN ANDOLAN

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Jai Kisan Andolan, an all India farmers organisation with active units in 11 states, today held a press conference at Kolkata to highlight the various injustices towards Indian farmers in general and farmers of Bengal in particular. The press conference was addressed by Yogendra Yadav, founder of Jai Kisan Andolan, Avik Saha, National President of Jai Kisan Andolan, Prabir Mishra, West Bengal State President of Jai Kisan Andolan, Nani Roy, Bankura District President of Jai Kisan Andolan and Susanta Kanri, Hooghly District President of Jai Kisan Andolan.The issues highlighted included (1) Demand of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (of which Jai Kisan Andolan is an integral constituent) against the Union Govt for enacting a MSP Guarantee Law (2) Demand of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (of which Jai Kisan Andolan is a founder member) for enacting a State level MSP Law in West Bengal (3) Demand of Jai Kisan Andolan for enacting a State Tenant Farmer Law (4) Demand of Jai Kisan Andolan for full coverage and quick relief under Bengal’s State Crop Insurance Scheme (5) Demand of Jai Kisan Andolan for immediate issue of Record-of-Rights to Refugee Farmers of Bengal and (6) Demand of Jai Kisan Andolan for complete saturation of all farmers under PM Kisan Nidhi Scheme and Krishak Bandhu Scheme.

Yogendra Yadav said: The BJP Govt at the Centre is fooling farmers about making MSP Guarantee Law but farmers are not ready to be looted and cheated anymore. Massive all India protests are building up to put an end to injustices heaped on farmers and it will be taken to its logical conclusion. This time the protests will not just be at Delhi but in every state capital, every district headquarter, every block office. It is beyond comprehension why no State Govt of India thinks of protecting the price of crops of farmers. While the Union Govt gives paper guarantee of MSP for 23 crops, state govts do not even consider giving such guarantee for other crops grown in their state. The West Bengal Govt was given a draft law by the AIKSCC as early as in September 2021 but it is a shame that the govt has not even acknowledged receiving the draft, much less taking steps to enact an MSP guarantee law for crops of the state. Income Guarantee of farmers has to become the core policy of govt but they are avoiding it because they do not want the largest segment of working people of the country to be secure. If income support schemes like PM Samman Nidhi and Bengal’s Krishak Bandhu exist, it shows there is a serious shortfall in sustainable income of farmers. The demand for MSP law is so primary that not making and implementing such law amounts to criminal mis-governance.

Avik Saha said: The Govt of West Bengal is insensitive and insincere about protecting food security of people and income security of farmers. There is either no policy or only paper-policies which are never implemented. Farmers get glib promises and inadequate delivery. Procurement of paddy, the main crop of Bengal, is highly political and most farmers have to sell at much below MSP prices to ruling party backed middlemen who pocket the huge difference. Jai Kisan Andolan has been demanding enactment of a law to recognise tenant-farmers of Bengal so that they can access govt subsidies and benefits but the govt is not taking any steps for this. As a result, nearly 40% farmers of Bengal are being deprived while land-owner non-farmers are reaping the benefit. We will soon place a draft law for tenant farmers before the govt and compel the govt to pass it.

Prabir Mishra said: Coverage under Bangla Sashya Bima is scanty and most farmers are not covered. Many staple crops like potato are not covered. Unless there is universal coverage, farmers are not benefitting. In climate-change sensitive areas like Sunderbans, farmers are lashed by one calamity after another and get no relief of crop insurance. This in turn leads to mass migration, women and child trafficking and many other social problems. Why can’t the govt do a “Duare Bima” campaign to ensure all farmers and all major crops are covered?

Nani Roy said: There are more than 20 lakh refugee farmers. They have been given land deeds during the Left Front Govt but not parcha (record-of-right). As a result, they do not get benefit of PM Kisan, Krishak Bandhu, fertiliser subsidy etc. Jai Kisan Andolan filed a case in court, got a favourable order but even then the Govt is not issuing parcha. Now we have filed a contempt petition. If farmers have to go to court to get what is rightfully theirs, then what is the use of having an administration? Even today Yogendra Ji has sent a letter to the CM, requesting her to give relief to refugee farmers.

Susanta Kanri said: The state govt resisted PM Kisan and did not let Bengal’s farmers get the benefit of the scheme. Each farmer has lost Rs. 20,000 till 2021 assembly election. Even after that, the scheme has barely reached farmers. In Krishak Bandhu, the story is not much different. Due to the horrible state of land records, most farmers are unable to register under the scheme. This has led to massive deprivation. We demand that the govt ensure full saturation of all beneficiaries under all schemes so that the insecure income of farmers is supplemented a little.

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