Farmers grow impatient and demand for complete loan waiver in MP

The farmers in Madhya Pradesh are getting impatient now and their agitation can be clearly seen on the roads of MP. After the protest in districts of Mandsaur and Neemuch, where five farmers lost their lives in Police firing, in order to control the protest. The farmers in western Madhya Pradesh are protesting since June 1 demanding higher minimum support prices (MSP) for their produce and a complete loan waiver,

Several schemes were introduced by the government for the farmers but the implementation of these schemes had many hitches. The NDA government had announced welfare programmes like timely procurement of bumper crops, establishing e-markets, crop insurance scheme etc.

The farmers are demanding for a complete loan waiver, however the Centre has made it clear that it will not bear the cost of loan waiver. UP government is trying to take few measures regarding the demand, which is rising the expectation of other farmers in different states also. Though, the farmers of UP might be in for a surprise as they might not get what they are expecting.

UP is in the process of drawing up plans to meet the requirement from its resources. UP health minister Siddarthnath Singh has said that the state will begin the process of farm loan waivers soon after provisions are made in the budget to be presented in July. This will benefit around 86 lakh small and marginal farmers who have availed farm loans and will cost the exchequer approximately Rs 36,000 crore. He further added that,while farmers will be free from debt immediately, the state will not have to bear the burden at one go as individual loans have different maturity periods. The state is estimated to be free from this burden in four years. This strategy may help the farmers in UP, but it is rising pressure on other BJP-ruled states to meet the demands of the farmers.

Agitating farmers have been demanding a minimum support price and loan waiver in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and other states also.

The RBI has made it clear that farm loan waivers are not a good economic strategy. It sets a wrong precedent and farmers expect that they will not have to clear their debt as a waiver would be announced.

BJP vice-president Satya Pal Malik said that, “Farmers cannot be left at the mercy of market forces. It is when the government buys the crop, especially when there is a bumper harvest and prices fall, the farmers are saved from middlemen. There is the need to establish industries for making chips, ketchup and the like in the area.”

Incidents of protest were reported from Shajapur and Dhar districts in western part of Madhya Pradesh as protests spilled over to new places on the eighth day of the farmers’ stir.

A bandh called by the Congress remained peaceful in Gandhwani and Kukshi towns in Dhar district.

The Bhopal-Jabalpur highway (NH 12) remained blocked for hours at Panjra village near Udaipura in Raisen district, causing massive traffic snarls.

In Sagar district in Bundelkhand region, protesters blocked Sagar-Jabalpur road and hanged chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s effigy to a tree near Sanodha village. The agitation also spread to Chhindwara district in Mahakoshal region of the state.

The administration and the police are taking all possible measures to control the unrest. Dewas district collector Ashutosh Awasthi has issued an order asking petrol pump operators to stop selling fuel in bottles and cans. Police arrested 90 Congress workers when they were marching to the railway station to stop trains. Congress workers also staged demonstrations in Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, and in Mandi Bamora of Vidisha district against the preventive detention of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi was detained on Thursday for forcefully trying to enter the fields to meet the families of farmers who died during the protest.