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Patiala admn puts foot down, says farmers can’t hold march

DC says permission cannot be given in view of festival season and prohibitory orders

punjab Updated: Sep 25, 2017 11:36 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
Navrajdeep Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Patiala,Patiala admn,Mehmadpur
Members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union holding a Protest against the state government on the Chandigarh-Bhatinda road.(Bharat Bhushan /HT)

The district administration is in no mood to allow farmer organisations to take out a march in Patiala city. Farmer leaders, whose five-day agitation at Mehmadpur village on the outskirts of the city, entered its third day on Sunday, had moved an application to deputy commissioner (DC) Kumar Amit to allow them to hold a protest march from the village, 10km from Patiala, to the city on the last day of the protest on September 26. The farmers have also appealed to the DC to shift their protest venue from the present location to the main grain market on the Patiala-Sirhind road from September 25.

Members of seven organisations — BKU (Ekta Ugarahan), BKU (Dakaunda), Kirti Kisan Union, Krantikari Kisan Union, BKU (Krantikari), Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Azad), and Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Pannu) — are protesting against the failure of the state government to announce a complete loan waiver and giving employment to one member of every household.

“We considered the request of the farmers for taking out a march, but the permission cannot be given at this stage in view of the festival season. Moreover, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), is also in force, which prohibits the assembly of more than four people in an area,” said the DC.

Meanwhile, Buta Singh Burjgill, state president of BKU (Dakaunda), said their intention was not to create any law and order problem but they wanted to take out a march “as it will help us to spread awareness among the masses that we are fighting for our genuine rights. We want to show people that the farmers, who grow grains for them, are peaceful protesters and prove state agencies’ claims wrong as they have termed us ‘violent forces’,” said Burjgill.

Senior leaders of other organisations, including BKU (Ekta Ugarahan), held meetings in villages of Malwa districts to mobilise more farmers to join the protest during the remaining two days.

The other demands of the farmers included MSP for all crops according to the Swaminathan Committee report, ownership rights of the land to the tenant cultivators, a permanent solution of the stray cattle menace and an alternative to wheat and paddy stubble burning.

Prof MS Swaminathan, agriculture scientist, in its report has mainly urged the government to accept and implement the farmers’ commission report, with regard to minimum support price for grains set at production cost plus 50% citing the need to safeguard interests of small farmers and the increasing risk of taking up agriculture as a profession due to adverse incidents caused by climate changes.

Can’t give more than ₹2lakh: Capt

Reacting to farmers’ demand of complete loan waiver, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said his government has already announced up to ₹2lakh for farmers. The loan waiver scheme will cover 10.5 lakh farmers. He said the process for waiver had already been initiated by his government in right earnest.

“We are giving ₹2 lakh. There is no such instance across the country. Still if the farmers are not happy, we cannot do much. The government cannot pay more than this,” said the CM, who was at Chural Kalan village in Lehragaga to attend a function in the memory of his mother late Mohinder Kaur.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 11:36 IST