Govt asserting discussions were held on farm laws but RTI reply says there's no record: TMC's Ray

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) The government asserts discussions were held on the controversial agri laws but according to an RTI reply, there is no record, senior Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Sekhar Ray on Thursday said in Parliament and wondered whose words were to be believed.

Participating in a discussion on Budget 2021, he said thousands of farmers are protesting at various Delhi borders against the new laws, which, he alleged, were brought by the government to open the farm sector to corporates.

Farmers are very angry and therefore no solution could emerge despite several rounds of discussions held between the central government and protesting farmers unions, he said and added that reasons behind farmers' anger is also reasonable.

Hitting out at the Centre for bringing the farm laws without proper consultations, Ray said, 'Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had publicly said the bills were discussed with lakhs of people. An electronic media organisation through an RTI had asked for names of farm bodies with which the government held discussions on the bills. But the RTI information commissioner said it has no record. Whose words we believe? Minister or RTI...' He said that if farmers remain angry like this, it would have an impact on the economy.

Further, Ray said that the ruling party had promised in its 2014 election manifesto doubling of farmers' income in five years, adding the deadline was later extended to 2022.

He asked whether the government would be able to achieve this target in one year.

Farmers' protests at various Delhi borders have entered the third month. Eleven rounds of discussions held so far between the Centre and protesting farm bodies have failed to break the deadlock. The government has offered some concessions including suspension of the laws for 18 months, which farmers unions have rejected.

Meanwhile on January 12, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the farm laws for two months and appointed a panel to look into the issue. PTI LUX ZMN