A body of the Punjab government’s Agriculture Development Officers (ADOs), Agriculture Technocrats Action Committee (ATAC), Punjab, has mobilised farmers across the state to participate in a mass protest in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
This is for the first time after 1989 when officials of the Punjab Agriculture Department and farmers would come on a common platform to raise their demands. It is also interesting that instead of approaching farmers’ unions for support, ADOs have mobilised farmers at the block level.
Talking to The Indian Express, ATAC president Kuldeep Singh Mattewal said, “The demands of the employees of agriculture department directly affect the farmers and vice-versa. Both agriculture officials and farmers have been facing apathy of the state government. Farmer cannot improve if he has no proper guidance. Besides, an agriculture officer cannot perform if farmers do not have required support from the government. So we have decided to table our demands on one platform.”
He added: “All the staff of agricultural department is mentally harassed as our genuine demands related to promotion, salary hike, seniority list and implementation of government schemes on ground have been repeatedly ignored by the government. Besides, farmers have been promised implementation of the Swaminathan Report many times by the state and central governments but nothing has happened so far.”
“Because of lack of reform, farmers are not in a position to follow the instructions given by agriculture officers. Farmers and agriculture officials cannot work in isolation of each other’s problems. So we have decided to put a joint protest,” said Kuldeep Singh.