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Monday, September 20, 2021

Over 100 farmers detained as BKS protests across Gujarat

In Ahmedabad, two dozen workers of the BKS held a symbolic protest outside the collectorate and handed over applications to the district collector, presenting a 13-point demand letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad, Rajkot |
September 9, 2021 1:52:41 am
Bhartiya Kisan Sangh members gave a memorandum to the district collector in Vadodara on Wednesday raising their demands. (EXPRESS PHOTO BY BHUPENDRA RANA)

More than 100 farmers were detained by police in Rajkot as the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), farmers’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), observed protests across the state on Wednesday demanding immediate survey of drought-hit regions and declaration of scarcity. Rajkot saw one of the larger protests of the BKS compared to other districts.

In Ahmedabad, two dozen workers of the BKS held a symbolic protest outside the collectorate and handed over applications to the district collector, presenting a 13-point demand letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Similar protests were observed in other cities of Gujarat as part of the BKS’ nationwide campaign for a “profitable guaranteed price for farmers”.

“Today, the BKS organised protests in 525 districts across the country where we staged a sit-in and handed over applications to the collectors. We have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding guaranteed profitable pricing of crops above 15% of the cost price for farmers. A legal provision should be made to ensure that no businessperson should be allowed to purchase crops from farmers in the market or outside, below the guaranteed price,” said Babubhai Patel, general secretary, BKS Gujarat.

“We have also written a letter to the Chief Minister demanding immediate survey of drought and declare scarcity, irrigation facilities in far off areas, payment of pending insurance claims of farmers and address grievances of farmers in the land resurvey project,” he added.

In Rajkot, they staged a sit-in outside the district collector’s office and submitted two memorandums — one to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding the convention of MSP be made a law and another to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, demanding Narmada water be pumped to dams in Saurashtra. More than 100 of them were detained by police at around 11 am and were released by around 2 pm.

Similar protests simultaneously organised at district headquarters of almost all major districts in Saurashtra region as well as Kutch as part of BKS’ attempt to create pressure on the Central government over MSP. “Since the time the Central government enacted new farm laws, BKS has been demanding that MSP should be given a legal status. On this issue, we are with farmers protesting in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh…,” Dilip Sakhiya, president of Rajkot district unit of the BKS told The Indian Express.

Sakhiya added that farmers don’t want MSP but price which is remunerative after factoring in the production cost. “Farmers should make at least 15 to 20 per cent profit on their produce,” said the BKS leader.

In a letter addressed to CM Rupani, the BKS Gujarat said, “Since independence, the farmers of India have found the answers for many questions faced by the country but the answers to the questions faced by farmers have not been found. The farmers are confused and are falling further into the pits of poverty day by day. Many farmers either quit their profession or commit suicide. (sic)”

Its demands in the letter to the CM include legal provision of minimum support price (MSP) for auction of crops on support pricing, rectifications in the land re-survey project as per objections made, no tax deductions in milk business, waiver of electricity bill of farmers during drought, end of draw system in farming equipment support system and introduction of subsidies, waiver of taxation on tractors and farming equipment, end of security deposit system for increasing the load of electricity connection in farms, to change electricity bills incurred in stables as agricultural units and not commercial and waiving of inherited dues.

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