Close to 10,000 small-scale farmers and farm-workers are marching towards India’s national capital demanding freedom from debt, better remunerative prices for their produce and peasant friendly public procurement and payment system from the government. The long march that started on 23 September from Haridwar has mobilised thousands of farmers on its way and is expected to reach New Delhi on 02 October.

ON DAY 5 OF KISAN KRANTI YATRA, FARMERS REACH MEERUT AFTER STARTING IN HARIDWAR ON SEPTEMBER 23 2018Thousands of farmers are joining the KisanKrantiYatra initiated by BhartiyaKisan Union (Tikait) on September 23rd 2018 in Haridwar. The yatra crossed Muzaffarnagar today, with long lines of tractors joining the foot marchers. Farmers who are walking in the yatra seemed enthusiastic about raising their issues with the Central Government and have expressed their anger at the inaction of the government. The KisanKrantiYatra is expected to reach Delhi on October 2nd 2018, Gandhi Jayanti.

The main demands of BKU’s KisanKrantiYatra include that MSP for all agricultural produce (including horticulture products and milk) should be fixed using Swaminathan Commission formula of C2+50% in addition to ensuring the MSP actually accrues to all farmers; loan waiver which is unconditional, of all loans including farmers’ loans from moneylenders, that too implemented in one go; Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana should be recast to make each farm a unit, with all premium paid by the government; Farmers should be assured a minimum guaranteed income in addition to smallholders and marginal farmers as well as elderly farmers above 60 years being assured a monthly pension of at least Rs. 5000/-. Farmers are also demanding that the NGT order prohibiting the use of diesel pumps in the NCR area should be exempted in their case, when it comes to tractors, pump sets and other diesel engines etc.

The yatra witnessed massive support of villagers all along the route – every five kilometres, the yatris have been welcomed by local communities with food and warm hospitality. Around 25000 farmers have become part of this yatra so far, led by BKU leaders like NareshTikait, RakeshTikait, Yudhvir Singh, Dharmendra Malik and others.

“It has been a unique experience so far – it is not just farmers who have been welcoming us, but traders and other sections of society too. What is more important is that farmers’ issues are bringing together people of different communities and we have seen Hindu, Muslim and Sikh farmers walking together to claim their rights, without religion dividing them in any way”, said BKU in a statement today. The Yatra has completed 100 kms of foot march so far and the night stay will be in Kathauli tonight.

The yatra is seeing the participation of young, old as well as children, men and women.

“Our farmers are greatly determined to ensure that the government stops cheating farmers any more, and that farmers’ just demands related to freedom from debt and remunerative prices are met. We will not go back with empty hands”, said Bhartiya Kisan Union in its statement.

For more information, please contact: Dharmendra Malik at 9219691168.

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