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Farmers urge Goa govt to hold talks before implementing bills

A group of farmers staged a protest on Tuesday, urging the BJP-led state government to hold a dialogue with cultivators before implementing the farm sector reform bills in the coastal state.

Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill have been passed by both the houses of Parliament.

Farmers, representing various farming associations, gathered at Azad Maidan in Panaji to protest against the bills.

“The state government should discuss the bills with farmers before implementing them. Farmers need to know what these bills mean,” said Cecille Rodrigues, a representative of farmers from Taleigao village near Panaji.

The bills should not be forced on farmers without their consent, she added.

During the protest, farmers demanded that Deputy Chief Minister Chandrakant Kavlekar, who also holds the agriculture portfolio, should intervene and call for a meeting with farmers.

The bills are expected to help only a few corporate houses that wish to take over the farming sector, Mapusa-based farmer Anil Kerkar alleged and appealed to Union AYUSH Minister and North Goa MP Shripad Naik to get the bills scrapped. PTI