Patiala: A labourer rest on sacks of vegetables on the 1st day of 10 day strike called by the farmers' unions for suply of Vegetables and Milk products in protest against hike of fuel prices, in Patiala on Saturday, Jun 02, 2018. (PTI Photo) (PTI6_2_2018_000139B)
Patiala: A labourer rest on sacks of vegetables on the 1st day of 10 day strike called by the farmers' unions for suply of Vegetables and Milk products in protest against hike of fuel prices, in Patiala on Saturday, Jun 02, 2018. (PTI Photo) (PTI6_2_2018_000139B)

DAY 2: FARMERS’ Strike

 New Delhi : A 10-day long agitation launched since Friday by various farmers’ organisations in tandem to stop supplies of milk and vegetables in 22 states started having its effect in cities and towns as prices start shooting up with no arrivals in the mandis.

The government is concerned as Opposition parties jumped into the non-political stir that is having a serious impact in at least eight states of Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The stir is to culminate in a farmers-sponsored “Bharat Bandh” on June 10. The government is in a bind as it does not want to use police force to attract the farmers’ wrath nor can it meet their demands to waive all farm loans, provide remunerative support price at 1.5 times the cost for not only foodgrains but also for milk, fruits and vegetables.

In a tweet on the second day of the farmers’ protest, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday threw his party’s weight behind the farmers protesting nationwide ahead of the first anniversary of death of seven farmers in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh on June 6 last year. He is to address a farmers” rally in Mandsaur on Wednesday to highlight the agrarian crisis in the country. “Everyday, about 35 farmers commit suicide in our country. To attract government’s attention towards the agrarian crisis, farmers are forced to protest for 10 days,” he tweeted.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday described the ongoing protest by farmers as a sign of their desperation in the face of the wrongs being perpetrated on them by the central government. He said the farming community in the country was in the grip of a serious crisis due to the “indifferent” attitude of the BJP-led central government.

The most damning comment came from Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala that “Modi government’s uncaring, unfeeling, insensitive, apathetic and thick-skinned attitude to the issues raised by farmers who constitute 62% of India”s population has precipitated into a nationwide protest by our Annadata.” The BJP believes in making headlines that mean nothing to farmers in reality, he said, pointing out that doubling farmers’ income by 2022 is just another “Jumla” of the Modi government.

The fact that dejected young farmers are resigned to their fate as they cannot get jobs even if they leave the agricultural fields. Their symbolic throwing of milk and vegetables on the streets or distributing them free is to register that they are not getting fair prices.

All that they are demanding is that PM Modi fulfil his promise to implement the Swaminathan committee report to get them the cost + 50% as the minimum support price (MSP) and have a complete loan waiver, alike the one by the UPA government in 2008, to let them start farming with a clean slate.

The lowest-ever agriculture growth of 1.9% during the last four years of the Modi government is an indication that the farmers find their energies wasted in continuing with agriculture that does not help them even recover their cost.

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