Farmers supporting farm laws submits memorandum to Union agriculture minister
A five-member delegation of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh that supported the Centre’s new farm laws met Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday and submitted a memorandum of demands.
The farmers, under the banner of the Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (HMKS), arrived in Ghaziabad’s Indirapuram on Sunday and held a rally in support of the new laws. They were going to go to Delhi, but their rally of around 300 tractor trolleys was stopped and the delegation was allowed to go instead.
“We met the Union minister and extended our support to the government. We also handed over a memorandum of our demands in which we said that the new laws would end the exploitation by middlemen. We supported the continuation of the minimum support price (MSP), demande that it be hiked and that the farmer should have the right to sell their produce anywhere,” said Satish Kumar, secretary, HMKS
The memorandum also said that under the contract farming law, the buyer’s right should be over produce and not the field.
“We also submitted some of our issues pertaining to waiver of electricity bill, timely purchase of crop so that we can prepare for the next crop in time and also get our payments in time. We also submitted that cases against farmers for burning of stubble should be taken back,” Kumar said.
The pro-farm law rally ended in Indirapuram on late Sunday night and farmers returned to their respective districts.
On the other hand, the other group of farmers protesting at the UP Gate against the three farm laws continued their ongoing protest and also initiated a relay fast on Monday in which 11 farmers began a 24-hour fast.
“They will complete their fast at 8am the next day, then another set of farmers will arrive and begin their fast. This will continue like that. We also urged all farmers to skip one meal on Kisan Diwas, which falls on December 23. This will strengthen our movement,” said Rajbir Singh, state vice president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) who was part of the batch that began the relay-fast.
Kisan Diwas, or National Farmers’ Day, marks the birth anniversary of farmer leader and fifth prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
The BKU led by Rakesh Tikait at the UP Gate had been staging protest since November 28 along with farmers in large numbers who have arrived from Punjab, Uttarakhand and other parts of Uttar Pradesh. They have been demanding rollback of the three farm laws and a new law on MSP.
The protesters at UP Gate are also gearing up to beat the winter chill and roped in dozens of tents and “Desi geysers” at the site. The tents, about 18, were erected on the Ghaziabad-Delhi carriageway which is blocked since December 3. Farmers said that the tents will provide them protection from winds and can accommodate 2-8 people.
“The ‘Desi geysers’ are in form of metallic cylinder shape with one opening for pouring down cold water while the outlet will give warm water. In between we have opening for filling up coal or wood which will help heat up water. These have come from Jalandhar, Punjab,” said Shamsher Rana, national media co-ordinator of the Tikait led, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU).