Angry at not being heard, thousands of farmers will descend on the capital, under the banner of the Bhartiya Kisan Union and with the slogan karo ya maro, to demand a “fair and remunerative” price for their crops that will boost their income and help them cope with inflation.
They demand a 50 per cent profit on the minimum support price, which should be set by agriculture universities. “We want the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices [which sets the support prices] dismantled as it is working against the interests of farmers,” farmer leaders Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Yudhvir Singh and Rakesh Tikait said at a press conference here on Monday.
Farmers from all over the country will gather at Jantar Mantar on March 18 for a sit-in, Mr. Lakhowal said.
The farmer leaders were particularly upset at the Commission having recommended a “freeze” on the minimum support price for wheat this year, pointing to high food stocks. Later a 10 per cent increase was given.
They demanded that the amended Land Acquisition Bill be passed in the current session of Parliament.
“The passage of the bill is being deliberately delayed so that all farmers’ land that has to be acquired can be bought and farmers get a poor deal,” they alleged. There might be political differences over the bill, but the farmers did not want their land acquired for industry and colonisation.
“If at all the land is required for public purpose, the compensation to farmers should be on a par with the market rate, not the circle rate, and farmers or organisations representing them should be allowed to deal directly with the agency that acquires…[the land],” Mr. Yudhvir Singh said.
The leaders demanded that the government establish a pay commission that would set the minimum income for farmers. India’s free trade agreements with other countries should not include agriculture and the government should have a considered import and export policy that did not go against farmers.