After two months of protests at a district level, farmer unions will march to Chandigarh to agitate at the iconic Matka Chowk on September 5 for an indefinite period.
Farmers across districts such as Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Muktsar, Fazilka, Moga and Sangrur have been demanding for a loan waiver, besides a consolidated policy that addresses their grievances so that farmers are not driven to end their lives.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri, state general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (ekta ugarahan), said they were fed up of the government’s ‘anti-farmer’ policies. He added that their protests had failed to move authorities.
“The purpose of starting an indefinite protest is to build pressure on the government so that our demands are fulfilled at the earliest,” said Kokri.
Buta Singh Burjgill, state president, BKU (ugarahan), said the government had turned a blind eye to their demands.
“The government is serious about our issues. This reflects in its failure to take strict note of corruption in the agriculture department. Even after last year’s (crop) losses, it is shameful that senior officials were caught making deals with pesticide dealers to allow them to sell their spurious products,” said Burjgill.
Among other demands, farmers want the government to recalculate their debts, take action against fraudulent commission agents, give a compensation of `5 lakh and a government job to the next of kin of farmers who committed suicide, withdraw the Prevention of Damage To Public and Private Property Act and set a minimum price of `4,500 per quintal for Basmati 1509 and Rs 5,000 for 1121, clear dues of sugarcane growers, give ownership rights to smallscale farmers and conduct a fresh survey related to farmer suicide cases across the state.