Farmers oppose SC panel formed to resolve dispute

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 1/14/2021 1:04:57 AM

NEW DELHI, Jan 12: The SamyuktKisanMorcha (SKM), the apex body of the farmers protesting at Delhi borders, on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to stay implementation of the three contentious farm laws, but declared not to meet a 4-member panel appointed by it to resolve the dispute with the Centre since all of them had in the past supported these laws.
Its leaders said none of them appeared before the Supreme Court since they never mde the farm laws a legal issue but an issue of their livelihood in danger, nor will they go before the panel set up by it.
They said the Supreme Court appears to have been misguided by various forces in choosing the committee. "It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in constitution of the committee. These are the people who are known for their support to the three Acts and have actively advocated for the same," they said.
Bhartiya Kisan Union chief Rakesh Tikait, who is leading farmers of western Uttar Pradesh in the present struggle, took to Twitter to express his displeasure on the members picked up by the Supreme Court. He pointed out that Ashok Gulati had headed the committee that recommended enactment of these laws. He said all members of he expert panel are pro-farm laws as they have publicly supported the contentious laws and open market form farm produces. He expressed mistrust over the panel to be fair to the farmers for a solution of the current stalemate.
The farmers' rejoinder came within an hour of the Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde appealing to the farmers to cooperate with the panel to resolve their problems. He said those who "genuinely want resolution will go to the committee. He told the farmers that "this is not politics and there is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate."
Here is the background of the panel members cited by the farmers deciding not to appear before them, dubbing them as pro-farm laws who won't give any justice to them.
Delhi-based Ashok Gulati, (61) a Padma Shri of 2015, picked up for the panel is a past chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, the body that advises the government on food supplies and minimum support prices (MSP). He was a member of the panel set up by the NDA government to restructure the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the government's procurement agency. He is also the Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at India Council for Research on International Economic Relations. He was the youngest member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC), from 1999 to 2001.
Bhupinder Singh Mann (81), a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1990-1996 in recognition of his contribution to the farmers' struggle, is a close associate of late Sharad Joshi of Maharashtra's ShetkariSanghatana, who together built up a farmers' movement under the banner of the national-level Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), a part of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (KCC), a national level platform of 17 state-level farmers organisations. Despite hailing from Punjab, he did not associate with the current protests at Delhi borders, mostly by the Punjab farmers.
Anil Ghanwat is the president of the ShetkariSanghatana, a farmers body in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and other neighbouring states. Trained under Sharad Joshi, Ghanwat declared last month that his members won't join the present farmers' protest as they are opposed to any move to roll back the three farm laws. He said in December that the farm laws will allow farmers an access to a free market, which was denied so far. He felt this meant better prices to the farmers.
The Uttarakhand-born agriculture scientist Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi (67) is the director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute in New Delhi. Before that, he was director of National Academy of Agricultural Research Management in Hyderabad, and also director of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research in Delhi. His research areas were technology policy, market, and institutional economics.

 

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