Fourteen Congress workers were detained by police from Porbandar on Friday afternoon after they blocked the National Highway(NH) 8E to protest against the prevalent low prices of cotton and groundnut.
More than 200 workers, under the leadership of secretary of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Ramdev Modhwadia, gathered at Narsang Tekri on the outskirts of Porbandar town blocking the road traffic.
A team of Kamlabuag police station from Porbandar town reached the spot and asked protesters to clear the highway. When the protesters refused, 14 of them, including Modhwadia, were detained by police.
“The Congress workers were detained after they blocked traffic on the highway. They were brought to Kamlabug police station and released at 1:30 pm,” Kantilal Makwana, police inspector of Kamlabaug, told The Indian Express.
Ramdev is younger brother of GPCC president Arjun Modhwadia. GPCC spokesman Samat Odedra, Porbandar district Congress president Ranmal Modhwadia were among those who were detained.
“Farmers are hit by low prices of cotton and groundnut in a year when the yield of the twin cash crops is low due to deficient monsoon. Our protests will continue till the time government takes steps to lift prices of the twin commodities,” Ramdev said.
Saurashtra is a major cotton and groundnut producing region. Farmers are reasling average Rs800 per 20 kg of cotton. The minimum support price of cotton is also Rs800 per 20 kg. Congress, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and a host of farmer groups are demanding the government raise the cotton MSP to Rs1,000 which was the average price of the natural fibre last season.
State government has announced Rs1,100 crore package for farmers towards interest subvention on agricultural loans and subsidy in electricity bills. But Congress, BKS and local farmer groups of Saurahstra have unanimously rejected the package while sticking to their demand of pushing up the MSP.
Former BJP MP from Rajkot, Shivlal Vekaria had launched a week-long farmers’ right march from Rajkot on Thursday over the issue. He is urging farmers in four districts Saurashtra to gather in Gandhinagar on January 11 and hold protest against Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, 2015.