More than 60,000 farmers from180 agricultural organisations across the country gathered in Delhi, under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Committee on November 20 and 21. They congregated at Parliament Street, demanding fair wages and loan waivers in Delhi over the past two days.
"Neither the PM nor any of his ministerial colleagues have cared to come to this historic Sansad and listen to the farmers", the organisers from the AIKSCC said.
The main demands of the farmers were to waive the loans standing against their names till November 20 and to ensure fair prices for their produce on which they have invested their livelihood.
On the first day of the protest, around 40,000 agitators held a mock parliament session and passed two bills. ‘Kisan Karj Mukti Bill, 2017’ was presented by the leader of the coordination committee and ‘The Farmers’ Right to Assured Prices for Agricultural Produce Bill, 2017’ was presented by MP Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan.
"The next phase is thus for intensification of the movement, besides spreading awareness about both the bills and organisational improvements." AIKSCC's leaders said.
A farmer from Marathwada in Maharashtra whose brother committed suicide last year said that, “Is it a sin on our part that we were born into a farmer’s family? A lot of women protesters are under 30 years of age and have lost their husband/brothers/families to suicide.”
"The main problem," he added, “is when we go to purchase land, the stamp duty valuation of a piece of land is around Rs 5-10 lakh, but when we go to banks for loans, we only get Rs 15,000-20,000 as loans. Where do we get the rest of the money?“
Sugarcane farmers from Maharashtra, who were present at the protest, also voiced their plight saying the cost of the production of sugarcane costs and lot and we get pennies from the sugar mills and from buyers.
“The fair and remunerative price of sugarcane was promised by the BJP government at 1.5 times the input cost, but we don't even get 1/4th of what was promised,
” said a farmer from Beed district in Maharashtra.
A farmer from Telangana, Madhur, who grows, Turmeric, Corn, and Cotton said that, “one Acre takes Rs 15,000 for the cultivation of Cotton but we are selling it at Rs 4,000”
Balwan Singh, from Haryana, said that the farmer distress in the country is majorly because of the government’s “anti-farmer policies”. The main demands of our protests, he added, “we want the government to waive off farm loans till date so that this debt cycle and suicides can end. And our second demand is that the farmers get fair prices of their produce.”
“The BJP government is only for the corporates and that is why they want these GM mustard seeds from Monsanto, but the government must realise that the BJP government was brought to power by the farmers and the labourers of this country and not these corporates,” Balwan Singh added.