Farmers Begin 10-Day Protest; Milk, Vegetable Supply To Be Affected: 10 Points
The hold up along with wastage is going to badly hit the cities. Delhi gets its produce from Haryana, Punjab and Western UP. Similarly, Mumbai will also see impact of the supply cut in the next few days
Farmers will not be supplying dairy and farm produce to the cities to press their demands.
New Delhi: Fresh produce from farms and thousands of litres of milk have ended up on streets on the first day of the 10-day protest by farmers in seven states, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The much-hyped demonstration, "Gaon Bandh", is being held to demand a complete loan waiver, minimum support price for their yield and an assurance of permanent minimum income from the government. The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM), a federation of 130 farmer organisations, which is spearheading the protests, made it clear that farmers will not supply any vegetables and dairy produce to the cities for the next 10 days. The federation has assured that farmers won't block any roads, but they will sit on dharna along 30 major highways in the country.
Here are 10 points on the developing story:
The seven states where the protests are being held are: Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. Farmers in Punjab wearing green turbans can be seen in viral photographs throwing vegetables, fresh fruits and spilling milk on streets. Milk flowed on streets and tomatoes were dumped on a highway near Nashik in Maharashtra.
On Day 1 of the strike, there has been no supply at all in Punjab except for Amritsar. In Haryana, the supply was reduced by 40-50 per cent. Milk supply is fully shut in Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Jhunjhunu. In Madhya Pradesh's Indore, prices of vegetables have gone up by 400 per cent and in Bhopal prices are up by 70-80 per cent. Only three trucks reached in Nashik mandi that gets 300 trucks of produce in a day.
The farmers are demanding immediate implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendation on minimum support prices; the price at which the government procures milk from them to be fixed at Rs 27 and a one-time loan waiver.
"This has now become a nation-wide agitation. We have named the protest 'Gaon Bandh'. We won't go to cities, as we don't want to disturb the normal lives of the people. We have decided to observe a Bharat Bandh on 10 June till 2 pm. We would request businessmen in cities to close their shops till 2 pm," said Shiv Kumar Sharma, president, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh. He added that if anyone wants to buy vegetables and dairy products, they will have to drive to the villages.
The protest also marks the first death anniversary of seven farmers in police firing in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur on June 6 last year. "The government responds to the rightful demands of the farmers with lathis and bullets. June 6 is a black day for farmers. Nothing will be supplied by villages to cities for the next 10 days, neither will anything be brought from the cities during the period," Aam Kisan Union chief Kedar Sirohi said.
Mandsaur was the epicentre of farmers' protest last year when hundreds of farmers demanded better prices for their crops and loan waivers. The protests turned violent forcing the police to open fire to control the crowd. Five farmers had died on the spot, and two others died later. As protests erupted across the state after the firing, the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan began what came to be dubbed a "peace fast".
Fearing a repeat, the Mandsaur district administration has made elaborate security arrangements. Some farmers have also been made to sign surety bonds to ensure that they would not indulge in violence, reported news agency IANS.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was in Bhopal on Thursday, however, dubbed the farmers' agitation as an agitation of the Congress party, according to IANS. "The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state is working for the welfare of farmers and it has taken several big decisions in their interest," he said.
Trashing the charge, newly appointed state Congress chief Kamal Nath said it is surprising that those who ordered firing at the farmers are now trying to shift the blame for violence on his party.
A few months ago, at least 35,000 farmers from Maharashtra's Nashik district had walked 180 km in the blazing sun to reach Mumbai to present their demands before the state government. The Devendra Fadnavis government had agreed to the demands. But farmers in the state are supporting the nation-wide Gaon Bandh.