Upset with the state government’s decision to restrict paddy cultivation to 50 per cent area in some blocks of Haryana, farmers riding their tractors staged a march on roads in Fatehabad district on Monday.
Farmers from Ratia block went to district headquarter Fatehabad to lodge their protest and submit a memorandum to the local administration.
“As many as 3,000 tractors were part of the march,” claimed Mandeep Nathwan, convener of ‘Kheti Bacho Committee” while speaking to The Indian Express.
Ratia is one among the eight blocks where the paddy cultivation has been restricted to 50 per cent area from this season with the government arguing that the step is aimed to water conservation. The government says the restrictions are meant for those 19 blocks where groundwater level is much lower than 40 metres but only eight of them are paddy rich blocks. This is under state government’s crop diversification scheme ‘Mera Pani, Meri Virasat’ for replacement of paddy by alternative crops in 1 lakh hectare.
The long march by the farmers in Fatehabad Monday drew the attention of government too when Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala saw the agitators when he was crossing the district. Dushyant hails from neigbouring Sirsa district. Dushyant, who has been trying to emerge farmers’ leader, interacted with the farmers to know the reasons behind their stir. “Dushyant told the farmers that there is no ban on the paddy cultivation while suggesting them to focus on their work in fields. But how can the farmers trust him? The officials have already started calling the farmers, who have tubewell connections of 50 horsepower, not to cultivate paddy,” said Mandeep Nathwan.
“In today’s protest, the farmers have resolved to go ahead with their plans of paddy cultivation. If officials try to intervene, the farmers will raise their voice again,” added the farmer leader.
The farmers are opposing the restrictions on paddy cultivation stating they get profit through the paddy farming only in this season of crop adding other options of agriculture were not much viable because of certain reasons. They are also not impressed with government’s offer of Rs 7,000 per acre to those farmers who will shift the paddy fields to other alternative crops.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala sat on a dharna at Guhla Cheeka in Kaithal district on the same issue Monday. Surjewala demanded immediate withdrawal of the “curbs imposed on paddy cultivation by BJP-JJP government in about 4.5 lakh acres agriculture land of the state”. Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda has also warned the government of a farmers stir if the curbs were not withdrawn immediately.
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