After MP, M’rashrta, farmers in Punjab, Haryana hold dharnas, seek debt waiver | punjab | Hindustan Times
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After MP, M’rashrta, farmers in Punjab, Haryana hold dharnas, seek debt waiver

UP IN ARMS: Also want implementation of Swaminathan Commission report that recommends fixing MSP for crops at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production.

punjab Updated: Jun 12, 2017 23:00 IST
HT Correspondents
Members of BKU during a protest at front of Patiala DC Office on Monday.
Members of BKU during a protest at front of Patiala DC Office on Monday.(Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo )

The farmers’ agitation spread to Punjab and Haryana on Monday, as thousands of them staged protests across the two states demanding waiver of farms loans and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report for fixing minimum support price for produce.

The farmers, who held their demonstrations at all district headquarters in Punjab under the banner of seven outfits, including Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), Krantikari Kisan Union, Kirti Kisan Union and Kisan Sangharsh Committee, to protest police firing in MP, asked for complete debt write-off at the earliest.

Braving sizzling heat, they gathered out the mini secretariat in Moga, raising slogans against the Congress government for failing to fulfil its promise. They handed over two separate memorandums to deputy commissioner Dilraj Singh – one addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking sacking of the BJP government in MP for police firing on farmers and the other for Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on debt waiver.

Several farmer unions held protest against the Congress government in Moga on Monday. (HT Photo)

Besides seeking announcement on loan write-off during the budget session, they demanded cancellation of all cheque bounce cases lodged by banks and commission agents, abolition of “kurki” clause on priority and Rs 10 lakh compensation for the family of debt-ridden farmers who committed suicide. “If the government fails to fulfil its loan waiver promise in this budget session, we will be forced to intensify out agitation,” said BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) leader Sukhdev Singh Kokri.

WHAT THEY ARE DEMANDING
  • Complete waiver of agriculture loans
  • Rs 10 lakh compensation for the family of debt-ridden farmers who committed suicide
  • Cancellation of ‘cheque bounce cases’ registered by banks and commission agents
  • Monthly pension for farmers after they attain the age of 60 years

He said that farmers also wanted the implementation of Swaminathan Commission report that recommended fixing the maximum support price for crops at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production. In Patiala, activists of farmer unions demanded that a murder case be registered against those administrative/police officers, who ordered firing and lathi charge on the protesting farmers at Mandsaur (MP) on June 5.

“These are cold blooded murders. Why there is no action against the erring police personnel? The authorities are taking away our right of holding protests for our demands,” the protesters said, demanding resignation of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Similar protests were protests were held in Mansa, Bathinda and Barnala also, but the turnout of farmers was low at some of these places.

FARMERS START 3-DAY PROTEST IN HARYANA

KARNAL: Led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union, the farmers in Haryana started their three-day dharnas at all district headquarters with the threat to intensify the agitation if their demands for loan waiver, better price for produce are not met within the next 72 hours. They are also demanding monthly pension for farmers after they attain the age of 60 years.

PROBLEM OF FARM DEBT
  • PUNJAB: Total debt of 10 lakh-odd farmers estimated to be Rs 90,000 crore as on March 31, 2016. About 5.71 lakh farmers, who own up to 2.5 acres of land, have a debt of Rs 9,845 crore.
  • HARYANA: Total agricultural loan of farmers, including all advances for agriculture and allied activities, is pegged at Rs 66,000 crore by Punjab National Bank, which is the lead bank for the state.

BKU state president Ratan Mann said they would continue the stir till the time the government accept their demands. “The protests will continue at all district headquarters. On June 15, the farmers form Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will reach Jantar Mantar in Delhi to hold a big protest,” he said, threatening to intensity the protests. The protesters also slammed the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state for ignoring long pending demands of the farming community.

Rashtriya Kisan Sangh activists have also decided to start state-wide protests from June 16 by blocking all the national highways in state. “As the government does not appear serious, we have decided to block the national highways for 3 hours on June 16. We will step up the protests after June 19,” said RKS convener Gurnam Singh Chaduni.