Demanding waiver of farm loans, farmers from Haryana have blocked the Delhi-Chandigarh highway (NH1) near Ambala. All routes to and from the blockade have been diverted. The farmers also demand implementation of the Swaminathan report.
The 2006 M S Swaminathan Commission report had suggested detailed, sweeping reforms to address agrarian distress: from ensuring better credit and insurance to marketing to better access to technology; steps to promote land reforms and productivity to food security and employment.
The protest in Haryana comes days after Madhya Pradesh saw similar agitations demanding better prices for farm produce and waiver of farm loans. On June 6, however, violence broke out in the state following clashes between farmers and the police following the latter firing rounds on demonstrating farmers.
Paramilitary forces were called in to quell the aggravating situation. Six farmers were killed in the district following police firing in a span of just three days. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a slew of schemes aimed to benefit farmers. “We are going to buy farm produce and give profitable prices for it. We have already bought a huge quantity of onions at minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 8 per kg. Each onion of farmers will be bought… We are going to buy different varieties of pulses at MSP,” Chouhan was quoted as saying by PTI.
Chouhan also went on a fast in June 10 in Bhopal’s Dussehra Maidan to appeal for peace.
On June 16, Chouhan visited Mandsaur district and met the families of the deceased farmers. Chouhan, who visited Badwan village along with his wife Sadhna, met Ghanshyam Dhakad’s family and handed them a cheque of Rs 1 crore, as he had promised. He also that action will be taken against the quilty.
On Thursday, news reports had surfaced saying farmers in eight cities of Rajasthan began a sit-in protest demanding farm loan waivers. Farmers had also demanded an increase in Minimum Support Price (MSP), special sessions be held in the state assembly for their plight to be addressed, agrarian policies focussing on farmers’ interests to be brought about and pending irrigation projects to be cleared, news agency IANS reported.
“Farmers in hundreds are sitting across the state at divisional headquarters in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Bikaner, Bharatpur and Sikar. We want the government to listen and do something for welfare of farmers,” BN Chaudhary, a Bhartiya Kisan Sangh functionary, was quoted by IANS as saying.