1. News

Farmer’s Protest Update: Who is Shetkari Sanghatana’s Anil Ghanwat, Appointed by SC to Farm Panel?

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia
Anil Ghanwat

Amid the intensifying farmer’s protest, the Supreme Court on Tuesday heard petitions related to the Centre's three new farm laws and those concerning people's right to free movement in the backdrop of the ongoing farmers' protest. 

The Apex Court has recently given verdict and said it was putting a hold on the three farm laws till further notice and decides to set up a four-member committee to give a report to the court on the farm laws. 

Among the four members of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court for the “purpose of listening to the grievances of farmers relating to the farm laws and views of the government to make recommendations”, is Anil Ghanwat, president of the Shetkari Sanghatana, the Maharashtra-based farmers’ union founded by Sharad Joshi. 

While farmers’ protest is intensifying on the borders of Delhi, members of the Sanghatana, along with representatives of some other farmers’ unions, met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar last month to express support for the three farm laws. 

Joshi, an economist by training, worked for the United Nations in Switzerland. After returning to the country, he purchased land near the now-industrial belt of Chakan in Khed taluka of Pune district and became a full-time farmer.  

What Position has the Sanghatana under Anil Ghanwat Taken on the Ongoing Crisis? 

The 61-year-old Anil Ghanwat is known to take stances which at times go against the popular flow of farmers’ movements in Maharashtra. 

On the other hand, when the majority of the farmers’ movement came out in support of the Punjab and Haryana farmers’ demand for repeal of the three farm laws, Ghanwat, who is the president of Shetkari Sanghatana, welcomed the move and threatened to hit the streets if they were repealed. Ghanwat said his decision was based on the ideological position for which Joshi had stood. 

An agriculture graduate, Ghanwat has been associated with the Sanghatana since the 1990s. A trusted lieutenant of Joshi’s, Ghanwat accompanied the late leader in the various movements and protests organized by him. Like Joshi, Ghanwat has been a strong supporter of liberalization and open-market policies in agriculture. 

Asked about his decision to support the three farm laws, Ghanwant had told media house earlier that they were the first steps towards financial freedom for farmers. 

Along with the open market, Ghanwat and his organisation has been a strong supporter of GM technology in agriculture. Thus, in 2018, Ghanwat had led a crowd of over 1,000 farmers to defy the law and sow the unauthorized HT Bt cotton in Akola for which an FIR was lodged against them. 

“We have long held that the monopoly of mandis in agricultural trade is unhealthy, and has to go. Just because the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has a well-oiled system of procurement in Punjab and Haryana, it does not mean that other states have the same. 

For a farmer in Maharashtra, such procurement does not exist — and the mandis are the only market open for them. If private players are allowed to procure freely from outside the mandis, it will only help in better realization for farmers,” he had told to media house earlier. 

On the Sanghatana’s meeting with the Union Agriculture Minister to express opposition to any steps to dilute or repeal the laws, Ghanwat had said this was the “first time in the last 40 years” that farmers have a chance at benefitting from the open market. 

Moreover he said, “If under pressure from farmers in just two states the central government takes the decision to repeal the Act, it would mean the end of the road for this (initiative).” 

No popular government would ever try again to provide a free market to farmers, he had said. 

Source:  Indian Express 

Like this article?

Hey! I am Pronami Chetia. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters