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No respite for Punjab govt, farmers to restart stir today

The farmers will hold a three-day dharna outside the DC offices in Amritsar and Moga districts between Wednesday and Friday.

JUST as the unrest, following the repeated desecration incidents, appeared to be waning, the Punjab government is set to face more trouble as farmers — protesting the poor price for basmati and the ‘poor’ compensation for cotton crop damaged by the whitefly attack — have decided to restart their agitation from Wednesday.

The farmers will hold a three-day dharna outside the DC offices in Amritsar and Moga districts between Wednesday and Friday. Twelve farmer unions are coming together for the protests, with the union leaders stating that they will decide on their next course of action on November 6. They want the state government to come up with “fruitful decisions” before then.

“We will be sitting on day and night dharnas outside the DC offices of Amritsar and Moga. Poor pricing of Basmati will be the main issue as the government, after promising to pick up 1509 variety of basmati at MSP of paddy (Rs 1,450 per quintal), did not even buy 10 per cent of the stock. Private agencies bought out the stock of this variety in the Rs 1,000-1,400 price range,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of Bharti Kisan Union(Ugrahan). “We have already made arrangements to allow farmers to sleep overnight at the dharna spot. We have no choice but to take to the streets,” he added.

“While our basmati varieties are being sold at dirt cheap prices, the consumer still pay heavily for the rice in the market. This disparity needs to end. We sell the 1509 variety in the Rs 10-14 a kg range and the 1121 variety in the 16-18 a kg range, while these varieties cost nearly Rs 100 a kg in retail. So why is there this huge gap?” asked Charanjeet Singh, a Moga-based farmer.

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While Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had met the farmer unions at Chandigarh on Tuesday and promised to resolve their issues at the earliest, it hasn’t prevented the protests.

First published on: 04-11-2015 at 02:28:44 am
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