One group of ex-babus asks farmers to continue their stir, another group cautions them not to be misled

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Lucknow, Mar 11 (PTI) A group of retired bureaucrats from Uttar Pradesh Thursday appealed to farmers protesting against the three central farm reform laws to end their agitation saying the laws are in their interest.

The retired bureaucrats, including former UP Chief Secretary Atul Gupta, also appealed to the farmers 'not to be misled by any misinformation campaign unleashed by some vested interests against the farm laws'.

The appeal was made two days after another group of former bureaucrats and some prominent people from the state extended their support to the ongoing farmers' agitation.

'The protesting farmers should not get misled by the misinformation campaign unleashed by some vested interests against the farm laws and try to understand the government’s motive behind them and the benefits the laws have for the farmers on their own,' said Atul Gupta in a statement here.

The former UP chief secretary added that the new farm laws have helped farmers increase their income, noting that the budgetary provisions are aimed at both strengthening agriculture and enhancing farmers' income.

He further explained how the government does not at all intend to end mandis and instead seeks to link them electronically through eNAM (National Agriculture Market), which guarantees an increase in the rates of their produce by one and a half times.

As for contract farming, Gupta said while the new laws allow farmers the freedom to end the agreement with the contractor, it does not give the same liberty to the contractor.

The contractor is also bound by the law to pay a bonus to the contracting farmer if the farm produce yields more than the anticipated income, he said.

Contract farming is not a new concept in India, said former IAS officer Sudesh Ojha, adding baseless rumours are being spread that the new laws would lead to farmers losing their land to contractors.

Former UP Director General of Police Sulkhan Singh said the Centre and state government have taken several steps in the recent past to help farmers join the mainstream and contribute to the development of the nation while benefiting from the government's farmer-friendly policies.

He said the UP government did not only pay Rs 1.15 lakh crore to sugarcane farmers but also reopened several sugar mills which had been shut down.

The ex-UP DGP stressed that the new laws will not end mandis, or the Minimum Support Price mechanism provided by the government and, on the contrary, enhance farmers' income.

Singh said the agitation has been causing problems for common people on a daily basis for months.

Devendra Tiwari of Bharatiya Kisan Manch said the new laws allow farmers the freedom to sell their crops wherever and whoever they want to.

Tiwari said while the government has increased the MSP, many baseless rumours are being spread about the farm laws.

He added that the new laws make it binding for the buyers to pay on time.

Earlier on Mar 9, several retired government officials and prominent UP people had extended their support to the ongoing farmers' agitation against the Centre's farm laws.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, former IAS officer and secretary to the government of India, Vijay Shankar Pandey and former IPS officer S N Singh had said a meeting of the retired senior officers and prominent people from various fields was held recently to discuss the farmers' issue.

The group had called upon the farmers to continue their ongoing stir for the repeal of farm laws and for ensuring minimum support price for their produce, the statement said.

The group had also decided to support the Uttar Pradesh Kisan Mazdoor Morcha of Sardar V M Singh and all other farmers’ outfits which have raised issues concerning the plight of the small and marginal peasants and are agitating at the village level for the repeal of the three farm laws and passing legislation on the MSP, the statement had said. PTI ABN RAX RAX