Farmers hold ‘Sansad’, share grievances

| | New Delhi

After their repeated requests to prevent peasant suicide and look for solutions to their problems fell on deaf ears, thousands of farmers from all over the country congregated in the national Capital on Monday, and organised a ‘Kisan Mukti Sansad’ or mock Parliament Session to present two Bills on crop loans waiver and remunerative prices for farm produce.

The  protest was called by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), farmers from around 180 peasant organisations from over 20 States to press for their two main demands — ‘better prices for their produce and complete freedom from debt’.

The protest march was started from the Ramlila Maidan and ended on Parliament Street near Jantar Mantar.

Participating in ‘Kisan Mukti Sansad,’ the agitating ryots demanded the Government to ensure that peasants are freed from all kinds of debts and that they get remunerative prices for their yield, as recommended by the Swaminathan Committee.

All members in the mock session were women, who spoke about their sufferings due to the ‘wrong and anti-farmer policies’ of the Government. They  narrated how lack of remunerative prices for farm commodities had led her husband to commit suicide and reduced her to penury.

With larger families not recognising the rights of the women over the joint land-holding, farmers’ widows, especially the young ones, have mostly been left to fend for themselves, pay the debt left behind by their deceased husband and bring up their children on meagre daily wages.

Lok Sabha member and farmer leader Raju Shetti tabled the bills, which were then discussed.

Many farmers said they were under tremendous financial burden due to the fall in prices and lack of government help. Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav who participated in the protest march on Monday demanded that the central government should waive loans of all farmers across states. He also addressed the farmers’ rally.

“We have two demands, one that the remunerative prices should be production cost plus 50 per cent, which was recommended by the Swaminathan Commission and promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Yadav said.

“And second demand is one-time waiver of all agricultural loans. Most steps in the last few years have been taken by state governments, but the experience shows unless the central government steps in, loans cannot be waived,” he said.

“So we urge the central government to waive all agricultural loans in all states, not just election bound states,” he said.



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