September 5, New Delhi
Indian Coordination Committe of Farmers Movements(ICCFM) and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), who are also members of La Via Campesina on Wednesday announced a 10-day long ‘Kisan Kranti Yatra’ from Haridwar to New Delhi, to press for farmers’ demands among other things, for farm loan waiver, higher minimum support price for farm produce, GST-free agriculture and no free trade agreements on agriculture that hits domestic farmers.
ICCFM 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”.
Bhartiya Kisan Union will be launching a massive mobilisation where thousands of farmers are expected to march from Haridwar to Delhi – starting 23 September until 02 October. 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”.
Rakesh Tikait said farmers are still protesting even as the government completed its four-and-half year in the office that shows the government apathy towards farmers and their seriousness about problems of farmers. He opined that debt on farmers is increasing as they are not getting the right price for their produce which is causing suicide of farmers. In the past 20 years over 3 lakh farmers committed suicide and he demanded that their rehabilitation should be made and their dependents must be given jobs. He also demanded from the government that it must ensure minimum income for farmers. Small and marginal farmers must be given Rs.5000 pension after 60 years. Ban of 10-year old diesel vehicle in Delhi-NCR must be lifted besides that tractors of farmers, pumping set and diesel engine used for agricultural works must be kept out of it. He demanded that the government must stop import of agriculture goods which are produced in abundance in India. Several countries are exporting such things under ASEAN free trade agreement which they even don’t produce.
Farmer leaders are of the view that both the Centre and the state government failed to fulfil promises made by them to the farmers. They are demanding a joint session of Parliament to solve their problem.
BKU (Haryana) president Ratan Singh Mann, said, “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”.
Another leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Yudhvir Singh said that Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is not in the interest of farmers but in the interest of insurance companies. He demanded that every farmer should be considered as a unit and it should be implemented voluntarily. Rs 19,000 crore is still pending to be paid to sugarcane farmers, despite the fact that season is over. The BJP promise to pay dues to sugarcane farmers in 14 days proved to be hollow. Dr Swaminathan Commission report for farmers is biting dust from past 15 years, forget about implementing it was not even discussed in Parliament.
The ‘Yatra’, meanwhile, will commence from Haridwar Tikait Ghat on September 23 and reach Kisan Ghat in New Delhi 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.