Even though Meghalaya’s farmers were largely uninvolved in the nationwide protests and strikes that were held today to oppose privatization in the agriculture sector, the state Congress Party held a protest in the city against the central government’s new farm laws.
East Shillong MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh questioned the Centre’s move to allow multinational corporations to enter the agriculture sector and said that the farmers of Meghalaya will soon understand why there is a need to dispute the three pieces of legislation, namely the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
The Congress legislator also said that the government has to maintain a regulated market system in Meghalaya so that farmers will not be deprived of minimum support prices.
Rubbishing the government’s accusations that the Congress was merely politicising the issue, Lyngdoh said, “It is unfortunate that our own government did nothing to protect farmers from contract farming.”
She questioned whether farmers of the state were consulted during the review period prior to the introduction of the bill in Parliament.
“Did the Meghalaya government ask farmers about these laws? They are saying there are no mandis in Meghalaya, but why are the farmers where mandis work well protesting?” she questioned.