U.P. farmers to march to Delhi


first_imgHundreds of farmers will march to Kisan Ghat in Delhi on Saturday after talks between members of the Bhartiya Kisan Sangathan (BKS) and representatives of the Agriculture Ministery failed in Noida. Holding the BJP governments at the Centre and the State responsible for the poor state of the farm sector, the BKS had made 15 demands which include complete loan waiver, immediate payment of sugarcane crop dues, making electricity used in farming free and pension for aged farmers. The farmers also demanded that the cow maintenance fee set by the U.P. government at ₹30 per day should be increased to ₹300 per day.“We thought the Chief Minister of the State knew everything about cows and their maintenance. We want to tell him that if he is spending ₹30 per day on his cow, we are ready to accept ₹25,” said Pooran Singh, national president of BKS.He asked when Tikaula Mill in Muzaffarnagar could pay the sugarcane dues to the farmers, why can’t others. “There are many sugar mills which have paid only 35% of the existing dues,” he claimed. When reminded that tractor and trolleys are not allowed in the national capital, according to a Supreme Court order, Mr. Singh said: “The Supreme Court has also said that the sugarcane dues should be paid within 14 days. Is anybody listening.”Power price hikeOn the issue of rise in electricity rates, Mr. Singh said when a farmer had no right on fixing the minimum support price of crops why should he pay for the electricity used in growing those crops. “It is the government that decides the price, so it should pay for the electricity.” S.S. Tomar, a director in the Agriculture Ministry, and D.K. Pandey, adviser in the Agriculture Ministry, listened to the demands and found them genuine. They asked for 21 days to put them before the authorities concerned but the BKS leadership felt that it was just a way to buy time. “These are not demands, they are our rights, most of which were there in the BJP manifesto. We are not here to give a memorandum. We could have done it in Saharanpur. The government should have sent people who have the authority to take action on our demands,” said Mr. Singh, who started the Kisan Mazdoor Adhikar Yatra from Saharanpur on September 11.He added that if the government didn’t take them seriously it would have to face the wrath of the farmers in the upcoming Assembly polls in three States and by-polls in Uttar Pradesh. “You could not get our vote only in the name of Ram temple and nationalism,” Mr. Singh said. “If the farmer, soldier, and labour of the country go on even a three-day leave, the nation will cease to function.” Law and order problemThe Noida police were still working with the Delhi police and district administration to resolve the stalemate. “We are still trying to convince the farmers but are not taking any chances in terms of law and order. We have no problem if they march peacefully to Delhi. The problem arises when they try to take their tractor-trolley along or camp on the road,” said Vineet Jaiswal, SP (City), Noida.last_img