Farmer leaders reject Centre's proposal to buy pulses, maize, cotton at MSP for 5 years

Hours after the fourth round of talks with the Centre, a farmer leader had said they would mull over the proposal and the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march was to be on hold until 21 Feb

Farmers in Uttar Pradesh observing the Bharat Bandh on 16 Feb (photo: Samyukt Kisan Morcha/Facebook)
Farmers in Uttar Pradesh observing the Bharat Bandh on 16 Feb (photo: Samyukt Kisan Morcha/Facebook)


Farmers leaders on Monday rejected the Centre's proposal of buying pulses, maize and cotton at MSP (minimum support price) by government agencies for five years, saying it was not in the farmers' interest.

A panel of three Union ministers — Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda and Nityanand Rai — on Sunday made the proposal to the farmers during the fourth round of talks in Chandigarh between the protesting farmers' unions and the Centre.

On Monday, farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal said, "After holding discussions (on the Centre's proposal) in our two forums, it has been decided that the Centre's proposal is not in the interest of farmers and we reject this proposal."

After the fourth round of talks with the farmers on Sunday night, Goyal said, "Cooperative societies like the National Cooperative Consumers Federation and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India will enter into a contract with farmers who grow tur dal, urad dal, masoor dal or maize, for buying their crop at MSP for the next five years. There will be no limit on the quantity (purchased) and a portal will be developed for this."

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

Protesting farmers under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha have been camping at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab's border with Haryana after their Delhi Chalo march to press the Centre for various demands, including a legal guarantee of MSP for crops, was stopped by security forces, which led to clashes last week.

Hours after holding the fourth round of talks with the Centre, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher had said they would mull over the Centre's proposal on buying five crops at the minimum support price (MSP) and that the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march had been put on hold until 21 February.

On 16 February, the larger parent organisation Samyukt Kisan Morcha had issued a 'Bharat Bandh' or nationwide strike call, which disrupted normal life across several parts of northern India.

Three farmers participating in the agitation have died so far, ostensibly of natural causes.

Besides a legal guarantee of MSP, the farmers are 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, "justice" for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

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