Peasant Organizations Announce Protest Programme

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC)

Press Statement: Delhi, 21 September, 2020

*- AIKSCC warns govt of nationwide unrest if MSP is not guaranteed and crop price/ procurement security and food security of poor is handed over to MNCs and Corporate

*- Delhi Gherao will be planned for Corporate Baghao – Kisani Bachao

*- AIKSCC has appealed to the Hon’ble President of India not to give assent to the Anti-Farmers Bills

*- Effigy burning of Central Govt. in villages starts

*- 25th September bandhs in Punjab, Haryana and local areas with all-India Protests

*- Social Boycott in different forms of all parties who have supported the Anti-Farmer Bills

AIKSCC has called September 20 as the darkest day in Indian Farmers’ and Parliamentary history, when all norms have been usurped by the Central Govt. to defend the right to loot by foreign companies and corporates against nation’s farmers. The passage of two bills marks a stage, where the ruling party espousing ‘religious nationalism’ and creating internal communal hatred has openly shown how blatantly it can obstruct even parliamentary norms to bow down before foreign and corporate interests and harm its own people.

The Central Govt. is invoking diversionary logic and placing blatantly wrong facts to justify its stand. While withdrawing the benefit of Govt. mandated MSP and consequent Govt. obligation of procurement of crops, the Prime Minister claims he ‘will do’ everything to serve the farmers. The PM has just passed a law which allows corporate and MNCs to openly start Mandis and Silos in rural areas, which they were banned hitherto before, because they cheat both the farmers and the consumers. They buy cheap and sell costly, squeezing both ends by hoarding and black marketing.

The PM says the farmers are being saved from the middlemen (arhatiyas) but it is these very arhatiyas who acted as agencies of the Govt’s procurement. In the process they gave loans to peasants and illegally extracted usurious interests. The peasants were against the usurious loans, not the procurement. The Govt. allowed the usury while it should have stopped it. But in the process, the Central Govt.has withdrawn itself from procurement completely. It is like saying Govt. hospitals do not function, so close down all Govt. hospitals and let the private sector loot.

These laws have given free access of farmers crops to MNCs and corporate, without any law where a MSP will be declared and the private purchasers will be forced to buy at least at that price. AIKSCC had placed two bills for a MSP at C2 costs + 50% for all crops and assured govt procurement. But Central Govt. has failed to even look at the farmers’ law.

The PM states the farmers will have freedom to choose who to sell to, where to sell and at what rate but in reality farmers cannot transport their crops far away and they have to sell at the nearest mandi. With only the corporate available there and the Central Govt. totally absent, crop prices will crash. AIKSCC challenges the Central Govt. to declare a law for guaranteed MSP and Central Govt. procurement and stand in competition to the corporate in every mandi. Only then will there be freedom for farmers.

The Contract Farming law is a ‘Surakhsa Kavach’ for corporate to purchase at pre-determined prices. It closes the option for the farmer to sell at ‘profitable rate’ in open market. The law has a clause for an appointed middleman in the contract itself who will decide on the quality of produce and unfair practices in case of dispute between the sponsor company and the farmer, thereby allowing for the company to not purchase or reduce prices in the name of ‘nami’, water content.

There is no penalty for failure to honour contracts. They even allow for 3 days delay in payments. Disputes are barred from Courts and will be settled by a committee appointed by the SDM or the SDM himself.

These Bills enable corporate to pool land of small farmers and saddle them with losses due to price crash and crop loss and more debts, with entire profit being pocketed by the companies.

There is apprehension that control over crops sown through input controls and the free import/export by companies in the absence of Central Govt. controls, will lead to glut in the market due to cheap imports of wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, soya, milk and milk products and others agri produce. That will further undermine ‘aatmanirbharta’ of the Indian peasants and ultimately evict them from agriculture. No country has grown by handing over its food control to profiteering exploiters but the Central Govt. is doing just that. Farmers all over the world are protected by their Govts. from companies. Govt procurement and price assurance are the only check on unscrupulous corporate who monopolise and squeeze peasants.

Farmers continue to suffer high indebtedness, uprooting, displacement and are being forced to commit suicides without our rulers losing a wink of sleep. Corporate bodies, FICCI and CII have for long demanded end to food grain procurement and opening up the grain market. WTO has been forcing closure of Fair Price Shops. The Bills have removed cereals, oilseeds, pulses, vegetables from Essential Commodities, whose trading and pricing will not be checked by the Central Govt. now. Food for the people will not be Essential and the Corporate will take control of the food  chain along with infrastructure and agro markets. More than 75 crores PDS beneficiaries will be forced to buy food from corporates whose market size and monopoly over food supply will increase.

AIKSCC is determined to safeguard the interest of the farmers and fight to the finish for its twin objective of “Karja Mukti, Poora Daam”. It is preparing for a series of protests as outlined above. AIKSCC calls upon all farmers, peasants, agriculture workers, tribals, fishermen, rural traders all over the country and trade unions, parties and democratic forces to join the movement. This movement is also against the New Power Bill, 2020 which ends all subsidy for the farming community and the weaker sections as well as against the massive hike in diesel and petrol prices.

AIKSCC is happy to note that farmers’ struggles have been given support by several trade unions and democratic organizations.

Media Cell, AIKSCC