New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Thousands of farmers from across the country will hold a protest march from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street in the national capital on Friday to pressurise the government for higher crop prices and farm loan waiver.
According to the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella organisation of over 184 farm outfits, the two-day protest starting Thursday would be the culmination of efforts being made by the distressed farmers over the past one-and-a-half years.
“We had held our first rally after the Mandsaur firing. We have received a huge response from not just farmers but people in the country as well. The AIKSCC has brought all ideologies together for the cause of farmers,” Yogendra Yadav, President of Swaraj India, told reporters.
AIKSCC Convener V.M. Singh said farmers coming from different parts of the country would hold marches on Thursday from the stations they arrive at to the Ramlila Maidan.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Member of Parliament Raju Shetti, who is also a part of the AIKSCC, has introduced two Private Member’s Bills in the Lok Sabha seeking a loan waiver for farmers across the country and a guaranteed remunerative price for agricultural commodities.
“We want the government to pass these Bills for the benefit to farmers,” Singh said.
The AIKSCC said 21 political parties have extended their support to the Bills and their representatives may visit the protest march on Friday.
Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leader Ashok Dhawale said the government had failed to do anything with regard to the Private Member’s Bills in the last one year.
“Over 3.5 lakh farmers in the country have committed suicide so far. We have never seen such a bad condition of farmers. Now, the Agriculture Ministry itself is saying that demonetisation had a bad impact on farmers,” Dhawale said.
Social activist Medha Patkar, Major General (retired) Satbir Singh, who has been spearheading the agitation for implementation of the One Rank One Pension, and noted journalist P. Sainath were among those who briefed the media.
Sainath said a special session of Parliament was convened on short notice for the GST but the Swaminathan Commission’s report had been lying in Parliament without any discussion since 2006.
“The government has stopped giving data about farm suicides. It is not just farm woes; it is beyond. There is a national crisis now. We have to show solidarity with farmers,” he said.
The AIKSCC has demanded Minimum Support Price (MSP) for 23 agriculture commodities based on the ‘C2’ input cost factor recommended by the Swaminathan Commission. It has expressed its disapproval over the government’s decision to use ‘A2 +FL’ factor citing lower remuneration.
Satbir Singh said his organisation extended its support to the protests as 70-80 per cent of servicemen were sons of farmers.
Two special trains — one from Maharashtra’s Miraj and the other from Bengaluru — have been arranged to bring farmers to Delhi, the AIKSCC leaders said.