• Wednesday, April 24, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Indian farmers want Parliament to discuss their demands

Farmers who are marching towards New Delhi to press for the better crop prices promised to them in 2021, at Shambhu Barrier, a border crossing between Punjab and Haryana states, India, February 19, 2024. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

By: Shajil Kumar

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher on Tuesday said the Centre should convene a daylong Parliament session to bring legislation on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops, a key demand of protesting farmers. He also urged the Centre to accept the other main demands of the farmers, including farm loan waiver.

Pandher’s statement came a day after the farmer leaders taking part in the “Delhi Chalo” agitation rejected the BJP-led Centre’s proposal for procuring pulses, maize and cotton at the MSP by government agencies for five years, saying it was not in favour of farmers.

In the fourth round of talks with the farmer leaders on Sunday, a panel of three Union ministers proposed that government agencies would buy pulses, maize and cotton at the MSP for five years.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha are spearheading the “Delhi Chalo” march.

Talking to reporters at the Shambhu border point between Punjab and Haryana, Pandher, who represents the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, said, “We demand that a law to guarantee the MSP be brought. If the prime minister has the willpower, a daylong session of Parliament can be convened. No opposition party will oppose it.”

“I demand that all opposition parties make their stand clear that if the Centre brings a law on the MSP, they will vote for it. Be it the Shiromani Akali Dal or the Congress – they should make their stand clear. The Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, and other parties should also make their stand clear,” he added.

Pandher said farmers have three big demands – a legal guarantee on the MSP for all crops, the implementation of the “C2 plus 50 per cent” formula as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission and loan waiver.

He said at the meeting with Union ministers Arjun Munda, Piyush Goyal and Nityanand Rai, the farmers proposed that a law on the MSP be enacted by convening a special session of Parliament.

Replying to a question on the “Delhi Chalo” march, the farmer leader said “our announcement (of going to Delhi on Wednesday) stands”.

To another question, he said no demand of the farmers has been accepted by the Centre.

Ashok Bulara, another farmer leader, said the government should frame a law on the MSP, waive farm loans and give rates in accordance with the “C2 plus 50 per cent” formula recommended by the Swaminathan Commission.

“Either accept our demands or we should be allowed to move towards Delhi for a peaceful protest,” he said.

On Monday evening, SKM (Non-Political) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal had said, “After holding discussions on two of our forums, it has been decided that the Centre’s proposal is not in the interest of farmers and we reject it.”

Asked if their call for a march to Delhi still stands, Pandher had said, “We will move to Delhi peacefully at 11 am on February 21.”

The protesting farmers have been staying put at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points between Punjab and Haryana states, after their “Delhi Chalo” march was stopped by security forces. They began their march on February 13.

There have been sporadic clashes between farmers and security forces at Shambhu and Khanauri border points. (PTI)

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