Farmers in Karnataka, who were protesting against the three contentious farm laws which are set to be withdrawn as per an announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will now seek repeal of Land Reforms Act and amendments to the APMC Act in Karnataka.
While the nationwide agitation focused on repealing of the three contentious farm laws, farmers in Karnataka were also unhappy with two laws passed by the BJP government that have a direct bearing on agriculture.
One was the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, which enables anyone to purchase agriculture land for use for non-agriculture purpose. Earlier, there were stringent restrictions with only farmers allowed to purchase agricultural land.
The other was the amendment to the APMC Act allowing private players to purchase agricultural commodities from farmers. Farmers were opposed to the amendment on the ground that it will pave the way for entry of MNCs and corporates who would dictate both the cropping pattern and prices.
Kurubur Shanthakumar, president, Karnataka Sugarcane Cultivators’ Association, said that farmers are still soaking up the victory against the Centre, which was forced to repeal the three contentious farm laws. “But our struggle in Karnataka will continue as amendments to the APMC Act and the Land Reforms Act are inimical to the farming sector in the long run,” he added.
He said the Land Reforms Act was facilitated to enable industrialists and MNCs to have a direct say in agricultural issues, and would sound the death knell for farmers with small and medium size land holdings.
“This will trigger a mass shift from agriculture among these farmers who will end up as daily wagers in urban areas besides losing their land which, so far, has enabled them to live with dignity despite the difficulties in the agricultural sector,” he said.
Protests against these two laws of Karnataka got dovetailed with the agitation against the three contentious farm laws of the Centre. Now that the Central laws are set to be repealed, farmers will shift focus to the State’s laws, according to members of the Association.