Defending his government's ordinance that amended laws to curtail powers of the Agricultural Produce Market Committees, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday said he has taken oath of office in the name of farmers and would not hold the post 'even for a minute' if their interests are affected.
"Our motto is farmers first," he asserted.
Despite objections from opposition parties, the state cabinet on Thursday had approved the ordinance, which, the government claimed, is aimed at bringing in reforms to facilitate market access for farmers.
"The amended APMC act will provide an opportunity for farmers to sell their produce directly to any purchaser outside APMC yards or in other APMCs. This will help them get remunerative prices for their produce," Yediyurappa said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said the amended act would definitely benefit farmers in improving their income and reduce their suffering from losses due to market fluctuations.
"The intention of my government and that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that farmers should be protected
from market trends.
This amendment will indirectly help farmers in doubling their income by 2022...the Prime Minister's dream,"
Opposition parties have vehemently opposed the ordinance and threatened to stage agitations, alleging that it would dilute the APMC laws and affect farmers' interests.
The measure would only help big private companies as it will clip the powers of the APMCs, they have charged.
Clarifying that his government had not removed the APMC Act and had only amended two sections in it, which enable farmers to sell their produce at the markets they wanted to, Yediyurappa said the amendment would also end their exploitation by market forces to a certain extent.
"Many a time we have seen farmers resorting to distress sales due to collapse in the prices of commodities. But the new amendment will allow farmers to sell their produce at a market selected by them," he said.
"Many are misleading the farmers on this issue and amendment.
But I reiterate that I being the Chief Minister, sworn in the name of farmers, I will not sit in this chair even for a minute if their interests are affected. I will never allow them to suffer," he added.