Farmers lie in pits in UP’s Ghaziabad to press for farm law amendments
Dozens of farmers launched an indefinite hunger strike on Wednesday, and lay in 3-4-foot deep pits that they dug up at Mandola in Ghaziabad’s Loni to press for amendments to the three new farm laws introduced by the Centre and also to get more compensation for their lands acquired under the UP Housing and Development Board’s (UPHDB) Mandola housing scheme.
Some 250 farmers gathered in Mandola for the protest. Terming their way of protest as ‘Zameen Samadhi’, the farmers, led by their leader Manveer Teotia, dug up 17 pits and lay there to press for their demands.
“We want amendments in the three new farm laws and provisions related to mandis and contract farming. Protests are underway at various borders of Delhi, we demand that the government hold talks and make amendments. We also demand that the 23 crops, for which the government has fixed the minimum support price, should be purchased throughout the year and not only for a particular season,” said Teotia, who was seen leading the protest through the Kisan Satyagrah Andolan at Mandola.
Other farmers, led by the Samyukta Kisan Mocha, have been going on with the protests at various borders of Delhi since November last year and demanding a new law on the minimum support price and the rollback of the three new farm laws. “We are not part of the protests going on at the borders of Delhi. We want changes in the provisions of contract farming, including considering the landowner under the category of farmer. Today’s protest will go on... We are resorting to peaceful means to press our demands; our protest is also to support farmers of Mandola, who have given their land for the housing scheme,” said Teotia.
Farmers also said they have been demanding hiked compensation for their land which was given for the housing scheme.
“We have been carrying out an indefinite protest at Mandola to press our demand for hiked compensation under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013. The administration gave us ₹1,100 per square metres in 2010. We demand rates as per the new Land Acquisition Act. We do not want farmers to stay on roads to protest...we want the government to hold talks,” said Neeraj Tyagi, convener of the farmers’ association.
Six farmers stayed put in the pits and continued with their hunger strike till the time of going to print.
Tyagi said they will continue with the protest till the time their demands regarding the amendments to the three farm laws and the housing scheme are not met.
DB Singh, superintending engineer from UPHDB, said the administration is looking into the issues of the farmers. “Our administration officials are addressing the issues of the farmers,” said Singh.
Ritu Suhas, additional district magistrate (administration), said two days ago, the farmers gave a memorandum of demands, which did not include their new demand in connection with the three new farm laws.
“The written memorandum they gave to us concerned issues related to the Mandola housing scheme. There are some new people who have joined the protest today (Wednesday), who are not even residents of Ghaziabad. With regard to the farmers in Mandola, their issues are being looked into and they have been asked to come for a meeting on Thursday,” said Suhas.