Sub-inspector, 4 constables suspended after farmers dump potatoes outside Yogi’s home
Unidentified farmers also sneaked into the high-security on Vidhan Sabha Marg and Kalidas Marg under the cover of darkness and fog to unload hundreds of kilos of potatoes.Updated: Jan 07, 2018 09:10 IST
Four constables and a sub-inspector were suspended for alleged dereliction of duty after farmers dumped heaps of rotten potatoes outside Uttar chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow on Saturday.
The farmers were agitated that the government had fixed just Rs 487 as the minimum support price for a quintal of potato, as opposed to their demand of Rs 1,000. The incident had occurred early that morning.
While the sub-inspector and two constables were attached to the Gautampali police station near Kalidas Marg, the other two policemen belonged to the Hazratganj police station — located in the vicinity of the Vidhan Bhawan. “Hazratganj night inspector Rahul Sonkar saw a mini-truck dumping potatoes at the site. He noted down the registration number of the truck, and it has now been tracked down. We haven’t found the involvement of any political outfit so far,” said senior superintendent of police Deepak Kumar.
The chief minister said a group of ministers would be formed to examine and resolve agricultural issues. Charging previous governments of the Samjawadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party with ignoring farmers’ woes at the inauguration of the Mohiuddinpur sugar mill in Meerut district, he said: “Farmer welfare is my government’s priority. Don’t fall into the traps laid by unscrupulous politicians.”
Reacting to the protest, Samajwadi Party national secretary Rajendra Chaudhary said potato farmers in the state “are not even getting Rs 2 a kg and are forced to dump the produce on roads”.
Police said unidentified farmers sneaked into the high-security on Vidhan Sabha Marg and Kalidas Marg under the cover of darkness and fog to unload hundreds of kilos of potatoes. The two stretches looked extremely dirty after the potatoes got squished under the wheels of vehicles on Saturday morning.
Deepak Kumar said the vehicles of the farmers, who were involved in throwing potatoes, have been identified and action would be taken accordingly.
The potatoes gave something to cheer about for the poor people. They thronged the area in the morning, picked as many potatoes as they could and feasted on them over bonfires the administration had set up for the destitute to protect them from the cold.
The administration’s sanitation workers had a tough time cleaning the roads — first with brooms and then with water sprinklers.
Such farm protests aren’t new to Lucknow. Hundreds of sugarcane farmers burnt their crop outside the Vidhan Sabha last October, though that was an organised protest by the Bharatiya Kisan Union. They were angry over the Rs 10 hike in minimum support price offered by the government, which they said was too low for their produce.
Last August, Congress workers opened stalls selling tomatoes at a concessional rate to protest against the rise in price of the vegetable. The party sold petrol at a discounted rate a month later in protest against hikes in fuel price.
(with inputs from S Raju in Meerut)