The Congress on Thursday alleged that the Centre had introduced the three farm laws – which have now been repealed – with an aim to handover India’s food grain logistics business to the Adani Group.
In 2020, the Centre had introduced three new farm laws, claiming they would give farmers more access to markets and boost production through private investment. The laws were repealed in November 2021, after more than a year of protests against them by thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh held sit-in agitations at state borders of the national capital.
The farmers demanded a rollback of the laws on concerns that they would make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to repeal the laws just three months ahead of Assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
On Thursday, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed in an open letter to the prime minister that the Gautam Adani-led Indian conglomerate would have emerged as the biggest beneficiary had the laws been implemented.
“The entire country knows that the motivation behind your [Modi] ill-conceived farm laws was to hand over India’s agricultural logistics to a few of your close corporate cronies,” the party said. “One of the biggest beneficiaries of the farm laws would have been Adani Agri Logistics which has become the major beneficiary of the Food Corporation of India’s silo contracts, the most recent award being one to set up 3.5 lakh metric tonnes of storage in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.”
Silo complexes are built to handle, store and preserve food grains.
On October 14, Adani Agri Logistics had secured the contract to develop and operate silo storage capacity of 3.5 lakh tonnes across Kanpur, Gonda and Sandila in Uttar Pradesh and Katihar in Bihar, according to the Business Standard. The contract expanded the Adani-led company’s control over a total of 15.25 lakh tonnes of silo complexes across the country.
In his letter to Modi, Ramesh also alleged that, another company of the conglomerate, Adani Farm-Pik, has been allowed to build a “near-monopoly” on apple procurement in Himachal Pradesh.
“Is India’s public sector, painstakingly built over the past 70 years, now reduced to being a vehicle for the enrichment of your corporate friends?” Ramesh asked.
The Congress has been running a social media campaign called “Hum Adani Ke Hain Kaun” – how am I related to Adani. The campaign aims to target the central government on allegations that it has extended favours to the Adani Group in securing number of business deals.
The allegations have gained mileage United States-based investment firm Hindenburg Researchreleased a report on January 24, alleging that the Adani Group has amassed substantial debt by pledging overvalued shares.
Since then, listed firms of the Adani Group have lost a total of nearly $145 billion in market capitalisation. While the conglomerate has rejected the allegations, its responses have failed to halt the stock market bloodbath.