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Rajasthan farmers adamant on loan waiver, protests spread as talks make no headway

The farmers have an 11-point charter of demands including crop loan waiver of Rs 49,500 crore and implementation of the Swaminathan commission recommendations among others.

jaipur Updated: Sep 13, 2017 20:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan farmer,Shekhawati protests,Vasundhara Raje
Police deployed as farmer protest during their Mahapadav (sit-in) demanding implementation of Swaminathan Commission Report in Bikaner, Rajasthan on September 11.(PTI Photo)

Talks between the government and farmer leaders on Wednesday failed to make headway over the issue of loan waiver as thousands of farmers in Shekhawati continued their protest.

The government had on Tuesday invited farmer leaders for talks as the protest gained momentum. The stir spread from Shekhawati area to other districts like Nagaur, Kota, Bundi, Hanumangarh and Ganganagar.

The farmer leaders said the talks were stuck on the issue of crop loan waiver. There were parleys between the ministers and chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who was not in favour of announcing loan waiver, sources said.

Sources said the government did not want to be seen as giving relief to farmers under duress of the Left leaders. The ministers offered to set up a committee to look into loan waiver but it was rejected by the farmers’ representatives.

The farmers have an 11-point charter of demands including crop loan waiver of Rs 49,500 crore, purchase of crops at minimum support price (MSP), increasing farmers’ pension from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000, removing the ban on the sale of cattle imposed by the state government and implementation of the Swaminathan commission recommendations.

The government was represented by ministers Prabhulal Saini, Ajay Kilak, Dr Rampratap and Pushpendra Singh, along with state BJP president Ashok Parnami.

The farmers’ delegation included former MLAs Amraram and Pemaram, Mangalore Singh, Harphool Singh, Sheopat Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Narayanan Dudi, Lal Chand Bhadu and Chaggan Lal.

Meanwhile, thousands of farmers in Shekhawati area of north Rajasthan continued their sit-in for the 13th day. Link roads and national highway 52 have been blocked by the farmers and there were reports of daily essentials such as milk and vegetables being sold at high prices. There were also reports of lathicharge by police in Jhunjhunu and of a person being crushed under a tractor in Sikar.

On Thursday, 15 opposition parties including the Congress, JD(U), SP and CPM are gathering in Jaipur for a Sanjhi Virasat Bachao meeting.

The Left leaders, who warned of intensifying the stir, did not rule out the possibility of inviting Sitaram Yechury to address the farmers.

First Published: Sep 13, 2017 20:46 IST