Himachal Pradesh Urban Development and Cooperation Minister Suresh Bhardwaj on Thursday lashed out at the Congress party for “misleading” farmers on the Centre’s farm laws.

He said that these agriculture laws would revolutionise the agriculture sector. He charged that that the Congress party was acting as a “lobbyist for anti-farmer forces“.

“Congress is misleading the farmers and is playing in the hands of a handful of people who had earlier been exploiting the agrarian community,” said Bhardwaj.

The Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Central government has been working towards doubling farmers’ income and has also initiated several schemes and programs. “After realizing the needs of these laws to make Agri schemes and policies a success, the government took the call. But Congress could not digest it. It seems the Congress party does not want farmers to come out of the shackles of a fragmented system,” he said.

Bhardwaj said that the Congress party and others joining it to oppose these laws are not the well-wishers of farmers but are acting at the behest of middlemen.

The newly implemented Acts are not going to harm the farmers. “They are rather giving them freedom to market their produce.”

Bhardwaj said that the Congress party is shedding crocodile tears and claiming that the new laws will hit APMCs (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees). He said the same Congress during the UPA rule had been advocating abolishing of APMCs and even promised the same during 2019 general polls.

Explaining the Farm Bill, the Minister said that APMCs and the Marketing Board will continue to function as usual.

The state government provides Grant in Aid to them and will continue to do so. “These bills are not about Minimum Support Price (MSP) and there will be no change in government procurement under MSP. It allows the development of private mandi infrastructure in the state and ensures seamless market access to farmers,” he said.

The Minister also said that the Bill will give price assurance of farm produce to the farmers at the time of sowing with better income options. It will increase diversification with more focus on cash crops. It will improve the agribusiness supply chain and will curtail price fluctuation.