Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 5
Upset over the Centre’s “C2 + 50” MSP deal, top farmers’ organisations from across the country are planning a ‘Kisan Kranti Yatra’ right through the BJP’s strongholds later this month.
As Left-leaning farmers' and workers' groups on Tuesday took the centre stage, demanding loan waiver, better rates for produce and minimum wages of Rs 18,000 a month, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders Rakesh Tikait and Yudhvir Singh accused the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “not fulfilling promises made to farmers”.
Prime Minister Modi and the BJP projecting the MSP deal as their “pro-farmers” move.
Farmers’ representatives from Punjab, who were here to attend the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements, declared they would start the cultivation of khus khus—poppy—in November, even without an official clearance.
Punjab farmers are demanding an amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, to legalise poppy cultivation in Punjab. Executive president of BKU(Punjab) Harendra Singh Lakhowal said legalising the cultivation and sale of poppy would not only help save lives, but also lead to reduction in crime.
“Cultivation of poppy was legal in the state till 1957. But after they were banned, synthetic drugs made way into the state. Numerous lives have been lost since,” Lakhowal said, declaring Punjab farmers would start the cultivation on empty patches along roadsides and canals by throwing poppy seeds there in November at the same time when wheat is planted.
The ‘Yatra’, meanwhile, will commence from Haridwar Tikait Ghat on September 23 and reach Kisan Ghat here on October 2. Hundreds of thousands of farmers will walk all the way to Delhi along with their vehicles, including banned old tractors, farmers leaders said The meeting was attended by farmers' leaders from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. According to BKU (Haryana) president Ratan Singh Mann, "the farming community that voted BJP to power feels cheated. Despite completing four years in power, the farmers’ protests emerging at different places are evidence enough that the government is not serious about their problems".
Leaders said: “Farmers are not getting remunerative price for their produce so their debt is increasing, the Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme is not working in the interest of farmers but of the insurance companies. Suicides are increasing and many farmers have quit farming”.
“Sugarcane farmers still have an outstanding debt of 19,000 crore despite the season just ending. In the manifesto, the BJP had promised that the payment for sugarcane would be made in 14 days. This, too, proved to be an empty promise to the farmers,” they added.
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