Congress in Telangana to stage protests over new farm laws

HYDERABAD, SEPTEMBER 23 (IANS): The opposition Congress party in Telangana will stage state-wide protests on September 25 against the farm bills passed by the Parliament.

Protest demonstrations will be held in all district headquarters and Assembly constituencies to demand the Centre to withdraw the "anti-farmer" legislation.

Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Congress have common ground in opposing the farm bills. While the TRS protest is confined to the Parliament, leaders of the main opposition party are gearing up to hit the streets over the issue.

Stating that the new laws would cause a huge loss to the farmers, state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy said the party would organise massive protests.

Party leaders are working to mobilise large gatherings of workers for the protests.

Uttam Kumar Reddy demanded the government should amend the law by inserting a clause to ensure that farmers get Minimum Support Price (MSP), whether they sell their produce in market yard or outside.

"Sales inside and outside mandis/market yards should be subject to the regulation of state government and local bodies. Buyers should be registered and transactions should be subject to rules and regulations," he demanded.

The Congress leader said states which used to regulate prices and mandi fees will no longer be able to do so with the new enactments.

"These bills are going to cause the collapse of the system of selling farm produce in market yards. Because of the interference of the centre, the states have to lose their constitutional right of agricultural markets which is under the state list," he said "The BJP government should have named the bills as APMC market collapse bill, contract farming promotion bill and corporate hoarding of food commodities bill. The intention of the government in passing these bills is to benefit Adanis, Ambanis, Amazon, Walmart and push farmers into severe losses," he added.

TRS leader in Rajya Sabha, K. Keshava Rao slammed the BJP-led NDA government for not consulting the state governments and farmers before formulating the bills.

"The cultural country, whose culture is agriculture, is now being sold to the corporate sector," he said in the Upper House.

While the TRS will not be staging protests, its leaders said the party will go to any extent to oppose the new laws.

Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav said that if required, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will lead a farmers' agitation at the national level.

Claiming that a revolt is brewing against the BJP-led government across the country, the minister remarked that no government which played with the lives of farmers has ever survived their wrath.

The minister alleged that the Centre was trying to kill democracy in the country by bulldozing the proceedings in Rajya Sabha despite its poor numbers in the House.

A day after the passage of the bills in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday, TRS Working President and state minister K.T. Rama Rao had disputed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement that passage of farm bills in the Parliament is a "watershed moment" for the agriculture sector.

"If the agriculture bill is truly a watershed moment, why is no farmer celebrating and why are NDA allies resigning?" Rama Rao asked.