Farmers from neighbouring states, who converged in New Delhi on Monday morning under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Tikait to protest "anti-farmer policies of the government", have demanded total waiver of agricultural loans.
Tikait, president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), said the recent loan waiver had not helped all farmers as it was meant for only a small chunk of the country's farming community. The BKU has considerable following among farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
"The government should announce a comprehensive loan waiver scheme for all farmers whether they are small or big. Farmers are farmers and they are faced with all types of problems everywhere," Tikait told IANS.
He said farmers were committing suicide because of the government's “wrong policies” and that there was no effort to check such extreme steps.
"If the farmers do not get adequate price for their produces, they cannot sustain themselves. Input costs have gone up manifold in view of rising inflation. Therefore, the government must ensure that farmers are adequately paid for their produce," he said.
Maintaining that the agitation was indefinite, Tikait said: “It all depends on the government's response. If our demands are sympathetically and effectively considered, we would love to call it off."