Farmers’ bodies call ‘village shutdown’ in Rajasthan for loan waiver
During the bandh, 68 lakh farmers of 45000 villages in the state will stop supply of milk, vegetables and grains, Kisan Mahapanchayat national president Rampal Jat told Hindustan Times on Saturday.jaipur Updated: Jul 08, 2017 19:23 IST
Rattled by debt-ridden farmers’ suicides because of crop loss, the Kisan Mahapanchayat called for a ‘gaon bandh’ (shutdown in villages) in Rajasthan on Sunday, demanding that the government waive off agricultural loans.
During the bandh, 68 lakh farmers of 45000 villages in the state will stop supply of milk, vegetables and grains, Kisan Mahapanchayat national president Rampal Jat told Hindustan Times on Saturday.
“We demand waiver of farmers’ loans; farmers should get one and a half times the rate of their produce; all crops should be purchased at minimum support price (MSP) on all 365 days at the village level,” Jat said.
Prabhu Ram Mawaliya (55), a farmer of Hirapura village in Nagaur district, ended life on Saturday morning, taking the number of farmer deaths to seven in the past one month.
Family members said Mawaliya was under stress as he had taken ₹7 lakh loan and failed to get fair price for onion crop for the second consecutive year.
“Farmers are committing suicide because of debts; thus the government should bear the loans and take steps to ensure that farmers are made loan-free,” Jat said. “There has been no permanent mechanism of MSP in the state.”
Apart from loan waiver, farmers’ organisations have been demanding passage of a farmers’ security Act and implementation of the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission.
People who are supporting farmers’ demands will gather at Gandhi Circle in Jaipur on Sunday and observe a one-day fast, Jat said. Farmers will wear black bands to show solidarity.
RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) had started a mahapadao (sit-in) on June 15, but called off the agitation on June 19 after holding talks with the state government.
That government assured BKS that a law would be brought in to make buying of farmers’ produce below MSP a punishable offence. A committee will study the laws in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Electronic weighing machines, the government said, will be installed in all mandis in six months.
The government did not give any assurance on farm loan waiver. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have waived farmers’ loans.
Holding talks with BKS representatives and assurances given to them was an eyewash, Jat said, adding that 26 associations would support the July 9 protest.
Last month, farmers restricted milk, grain and vegetable supply in several districts of Rajasthan after the Kisan Mahapanchayat called a bandh to support the farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh. Meetings were held to condole the deaths of farmers killed in police firing in Mandsaur in MP.