(First published by The Hindu on 04 Dec 2015)
Farmers on Friday threatened to launch a country-wide agitation against the BJP-led government at the Centre in protest against the alleged apathetic attitude towards their demands, including implementation of Swaminathan Commission report, debt waiver etc.
Under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), led by its national spokesman Rakesh Tikait, farmers from various States, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu assembled here and took a decision to hold protest rallies against the government while holding it responsible for “pitiable” condition of the growers.
“We have decided to hold protests and demonstration against the Central government for not giving any attention towards their deplorable condition. Through these protests, we will pressurise the Centre to accept their genuine demands,” Mr, Tikait said here on Friday.
BKU’s national coordinator Yudhvir Singh said it was quite unfortunate that country’s Prime Minister was not ready to listen to their problems.
“We tried several times to meet our PM to apprise him about our demands. We even held a protest rally in Delhi, but PM did not listen to us,” Mr. Singh alleged.
He alleged that farmers were disappointed with present government.
As per the plan, farmers have decided to block all the entry points to Delhi on March 17.
On February 18, protest will be held in Chandigarh.
Besides, protest rallies will be held in Allahabad on January 18, in Madhya Pradesh on March 1, followed by Uttarakhand on March 2 and Karnataka on March 3.
BKU (Punjab) official Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said that farmers were not getting adequate rates for their crops and their financial position has turned from bad to worse.
“Farmers have become debt ridden and they are not able to come out of this crisis situation unless government lends support,” he said.
Swaminathan panel report
Giving details about demands, Mr. Lakhowal said that report of Swaminathan Commission should be implemented at the earliest which promises 50 per cent profit over and above the cost.
All debts of farmers should be waived and a farmers’ income commission should be set up to determine minimum income of growers. A separate farm budget be prepared and children of farmers should be given reservation in educational institutions and government jobs, he said.
On this occasion, farmers also asked the Centre not to give approval to any decision like abolition of agricultural subsidies, etc. at 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya from December 15-18, which could harm the interests of country’s agricultural sector.
Mr. Tikait said a group of farmers will also visit Nairobi to keep a watch on the decisions to be taken at the WTO conference. – PTI