Farmers still agitating because Modi govt has failed to give 'alternative' to agri laws: SKM

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Farmers are still agitating because ministers of the Modi government have failed to present any 'alternative' to the three new agri laws, the Samuykta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 41 farmer unions, said on Wednesday.

The SKM is leading the protest against the three central farm laws at several border points of Delhi.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address in Lok Sabha, SKM leader Darshan Pal said that union leaders have only been raising the 'genuine' issues of the farmers.

'The agitation has been continuing because the ministers of the Modi government have not been able to come up with any solid alternative to the new laws or the MSP (minimum support price), despite 11 rounds of talks,' Pal said in a video message.

It is 'absolutely clear' that the new laws will finish government mandis (wholesale markets) and private mandis where big corporates will sell and buy will have monopoly, he claimed.

'What is the problem and your (prime minister's) objection if both the mandis remain,' Pal said referring to one of the new farm laws of the Centre.

He said that the prime minister termed those protesting against the farm laws as 'andolanjivis' (professional protesters), and that they raised different issues and 'misguided' the farmers.

'The truth is thate we are struggling on genuine issues of farmers for the past six months and have not raised any issue or demand beyond it,' said the SKM leader.

Pal said that the farmers and people of the country should not be taken in by the prime minister's speech in Lok Sabha and continue to strengthen the agitation against farm laws.

'I want to say to the farmers and the people to understand what Modi said in Parliament and not be taken in by his statements about the leaders of the farmers agitation,' he said.

Prime Minister Modi said in the Lok Sabha that the government and Parliament have great respect for farmers who are voicing their views on the three farm bills, and made it clear that those who want to continue with the old agriculture marketing system can continue doing so.

Replying in Lok Sabha to the discussion on the motion of thanks to the President's address to the joint sitting of Parliament, Modi staunchly defended the three contentious farms laws and attacked the opposition for 'misleading' farmers.

Seeking to allay apprehensions on the farm laws, Modi said neither any agriculture 'mandi' (market) has shut down after the three laws were enacted nor has the MSP stopped, rather the MSP has only increased which no one can deny.

The prime minister also said the government has offered to discuss clause by clause of the three farm laws and if there are any shortcomings it was ready to make changes. PTI VIT ANB ANB