Thousands of farmers gathered on the roads in agriculture-dominated states for the first day of what is supposed to be a 10-day stir for reminerative pricing — they dumped milk, vegetables and fruit on the roads.
Supplies of milk and vegetables have been hit in some places and traders fear more of this if the protest intensifies; all farmer bodies are not part of the stir. Protests were seen in various cities and wholesale markets (mandis) of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and western Utter Pradesh.
The strike call has been given by a Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM), which says it represents 130 farmers’ national
and regional associations.
They are quoting the Swaminathan committee report on minimum support prices for all produce, complete debt waiver and fixation of minimum income.
“Farmers’ plight continues despite India’s farm output having multiplied over seven decades. From an import-dependent country in the early '60s, India has become a net exporter of many agri commodities, with leadership position in many consumables. That has not come without farmers’ hard work. But, farmers have got little of the benefit of this revolution. We, therefore, have come on the street to mark our presence,” said Shiv Kumar Sharma, president of RKM.
Farmers in Punjab reportedly poured thousands of litres of milk on the roads and stopped fruit and vegetable supplies to mandis. In his unique way, the cricketer-turned-politician visited village Patto along with Congress MLAs Kuljit Singh Nagra and Gurpreet Singh and bought milk and vegetables from farmers to highlight their significant contribution in the development of the nation.
“If the country is to be saved then saving farm sector ought to be a priority,” Sidhu said adding that if the ruling NDA government at the Centre had fulfilled their pre-poll promises, the farmers would not have been in such a sorry state of affairs. Haryana also saw a cutback in supplies.
With inputs from PTI