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Farmers demand total debt waiver, remunerative crop prices

The farmers who have been mobilised from various parts of the country are from grassroots organisations and also front associations of the CPI (M) and others

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

Members of Kisan Mukti Sansad shouting slogans for their various demands during their protest at Parliament Street in New Delhi (Photo: Dalip Kumar)

V Vinkudothu looks like a college student. Bespectacled, she could easily pass for a youngster who had come to watch the farmers’ rally organised by a conglomeration of around 180 organisations in the capital’s Parliament Street.

Clutching the portrait of a middle-aged man, Vinkudothu strains her voice amid the din, describing how a mix of loans from moneylenders and banks has put her family in a vicious cycle of debt, which took her father’s life.

He committed suicide in October last year after failing to repay a loan of Rs 13 lakh taken from local moneylenders and banks after both the paddy and cotton crops in their five-acre land taken on lease failed due to drought in consecutive years at Yedardi district in

More than 50 women of and who have lost their husband, father, or a near one to debt and crop loss were among more than 15,000 who had gathered as part of the (Kisan Sansad), demanding remunerative prices for their produce and a one-time farm  

The who have been mobilised from various parts of the country are from grassroots organisations and also front associations of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and others.

At a gathering, two "Bills" were passed, one for a and the other for remunerative prices for their produce. The “Bill” on remunerative prices wanted a legal guarantee for ensuring a support price that is 50 per cent more than the comprehensive costs, or C2, as recommended by eminent agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan.

The gathering was organised under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), comprising 180 peasant organisations from all over the country.

According to AIKSCC leaders, the "Bills" passed by them will be placed in Parliament as private members’ Bills by Lok Sabha member Raju Shetty of the Swabhimani Paksha and Rajya Sabha member K K Ragesh of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). “We will seek the support of other political parties to ensure that these private members’ Bills are passed in Parliament," said Ashok Dhawale, a leader of the All India Kisan Sabha, a constituent of the AIKSCC. According to the AIKSCC, "a steady rise in input costs, such as those of fuel, pesticides, fertilisers, and even water, and the slashing of subsidies by the government" are some of the key factors behind the cost versus income "imbalance" being faced by now.  

Protesting have alleged that the ruling has done nothing for them and has been using them for its political gains.

"The Prime Minister earlier said that no state would give a bonus above the MSP (minimum support price) and now before the (Assembly) election in Gujarat, when cotton prices are down, the Gujarat government announced a (bonus) of Rs 500 per bale (one bale=170 kg). But, what happens to in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, or Punjab?" Communist Party of India leader Atul Anjan said.

“This is blatant pampering of and using the situation to meet your political interests, and not the interests of ” 

With agency inputs

First Published: Tue, November 21 2017. 02:02 IST