Around thousands of farmers demanding crop loan waiver continue to protest for the 12th day in Sikar district of Rajasthan after talks with government remained inconclusive on Tuesday.
The agitation which is going on for last 12 days in northern part of the state is led by the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha, the farmer organisation of the CPM. Their main demand is a waiver of loans as done in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra along with the implementation of Swaminathan Committee recommendations. Farmers are also demanding that crops should be timely purchased at minimum support price.
During the talks that were held between the farmer delegation and council of ministers, 11 demands that were raised by farmers include, crop loan waiver, purchase of crops at minimum support price (MSP), increasing farmers’ pension from rupees 500 to rupees5,000, managing the menace of stray cattle, free electricity for agriculture and removing the ban on the sale of cattle. Former CPI(M) MLA Amraram, who is leading the stir, told DH, “We are planning to call for a statewide protest and Chakka jam. Government is coming up with any concrete solution. Loan in the state amounts to approximate rupees 49,500 crores.”
However, state agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini who is hopeful of breaking the deadlock told DH, “We have discussed each and every point with the farmer delegation and we are trying to look for a concrete solution. On their demand of 50% more price than MSP, we have already sent our recommendations to the Government of India. At the same time, we will once again have talks with the delegation on Wednesday evening”.
All roads and highways passing through Sikar district are blocked at more than150 places on Wednesday. Effects of the chakka jam were evident in Bikaner, Nagaur, Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts. Farmers have threatened that blockades will continue.
With assembly elections due next year, the farmer agitation becomes unavoidable for the ruling BJP government as 70% people in Rajasthan are engaged in agriculture. Congress state president Sachin Pilot has several times targeted the BJP and called them anti farmer party.