Patiala agitation: Punjab farmers burn state govt’s effigy on 4th day of protest
Upping the ante: Amid reports that more farmers will join protest on the last day of the stir on Tuesday, para-military deployed on check-posts leading to Patiala, 10km from protest site in Mehmudpur village on Patiala-Sangrur roadpunjab Updated: Sep 26, 2017 11:33 IST
Intensifying their five-day protest that rejected the state government’s farm loan waiver scheme that completed its fourth day on Thursday, farmers — under the banner of seven unions — burnt the effigy of state government at Mehmudpur village on Patiala-Sangrur road, 10km away from the city, on Monday. The farmers have claimed that the loan waiver benefits only a minority among them.
“We will continue fighting for our rights. We will not allow anyone to stop burning paddy stubble till govt provides assistance of Rs 200 per quintal for managing paddy stubble.”
The other demands of farmers include fixing a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops as a report by a panel that senior agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan headed.
Ownership rights to tenant cultivators, a permanent solution to the stray cattle menace and an alternative to wheat and paddy stubble burning are other demands.
Security beefed up
With Tuesday the last day of protest and more farmers from the organisations — BKU (Ekta Ugarahan), BKU (Dakaunda), Kirti Kisan Union, Krantikari Kisan Union, BKU (Krantikari), Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Azad), and Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Pannu) — expected to reach the protest site, a company of para-military force was deployed on check-posts on roads leading to Patiala city. Shingara Singh Mann of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugarahan), said, “We will continue fighting for our rights. We will not allow anyone to stop burning paddy stubble till government provides monetary assistance of Rs 200 per quintal for managing paddy stubble.”
Buta Singh Burjgill, state president, BKU Dakaunda, said, “The protest is a clear message to the police and the government that farmers will continue to fight for their rights. Assurances will not help. We want concrete workable solutions.”
AIKF supports protesting farmers
Chandigarh All India Kisan Federation (AIKF) has supported the protest of farmers in Patiala. Prem Singh Bhangu, AIKF president, and Zora Singh, state secretary, in a joint statement, condemned the callous and apathetic attitude of the Congress government.
“We appeal to the state government to hold talks with protesting farmers. The state govt must fulfil pre-poll promises of total loan waiver. The situation of farmers has worsened with farmers continuing to commit suicide,” the statement added. The statement added the government was bent upon withdrawing power subsidy available to farmers, with its decision to install meters on new tubewell connections.
“All farm unions in Punjab must come on a single platform and find for their rights,” the joint statement added.