Agri Business

Farmers’ Sansad demands loan waiver, remunerative prices

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

Farmers donating money during Kisan Mukti Sansad in New Delhi on Monday. More than 10,000 farmers participated in a rally just outside Parliament   -  Ramesh Sharma

Mock Parliament passes ‘Bills’ that will be sent to Govt for actual enactment

Tens of thousands of farmers from all over the country on Monday hit Parliament Street to put pressure on the Modi government to give in to their long-standing demands of farm loan waivers and remunerative prices for their produce.

The farmers, belonging to different farmer organisations, came to the venue by marching from Ramlila Maidan. Many farmer leaders said there was an overwhelming response with a large number of farmers turning up for the protest meet, organised by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation over 180 farmer groups.

“We were expecting only 8,000 members of our organisation to participate. But there are at least 11,000 our members at the meeting,” said a leader of All India Kisan Sabha, a CPI (M)-affiliated farmer union, which sent the largest contingent of farmers to the protest meeting, known as Kisan Mukti Sansad.

The main feature of the protest meeting, held just 500 metres from Parliament, was an all-women parliament where its 545 members, mostly belonging to the families of farmers who committed suicide, passed Bills relating to crop loan waiver and remunerative prices for agricultural commodities. These Bills would now be sent to the government demanding their passage.

Addressing this mock parliament, Kavita Kurungati, a women farmer, and convener of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), put forward the issues of women farmers and stressed the need for passing the Bills for loan waiver and well as for ensuring prices of farm produce at least one-and-half times of the input cost.

Many women farmers shared their stories, capturing the depth of agrarian crisis currently gripping the country.

Manisha, a young women farmer from Siddipet in Telangana narrated a heart-rending story of both her parents committing suicide, after borrowing at high interest from moneylenders who harassed them for repayment. They had to go to moneylenders, as tenant farmers, they had no access to institutional credit.

Heart-rending tales

Many participants’ eyes were moist when Kantabai from Maharashtra described how her daughter committed suicide as she didn’t want to be a burden on her parents and increase their debt with her education fees.

The Kisan sansad felicitated Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatan, a sitting MP who broke off with the ruling alliance in Maharashtra to be part of the farmer movement and Amra Ram, an All India Kisan Sabha leader, who successfully organised a huge farmer protest movement recently in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.

Published on November 20, 2017

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