Farmers’ 10-day protest entered the second day peacefully, making an impact already as vegetable and milk supplies were hit in many areas, sending the prices soaring, even as ministers in BJP governments ran down the farmers for raising ‘unnecessary things’ or seeking media attention.
The farmers are demanding minimum assured income for every agriculturist’s family, implementation of Swaminathan Commission’s report, a price for their produce that gives them 50% more than the total weighted cost of production and waiver of all loans.
The protest was called by Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM), an umbrella body of over 100 farmers organisations.
In Maharashtra, auction of vegetables did take place at Nashik agriculture produce market committees (APMC), but the produce that reached the market was low in quantity, according to a report in Times of India (TOI).
The strike also hit the country’s largest wholesale onion market, Lasalgaon APMC, as most farmers stayed away from auction. “Only 300 quintals was auctioned at Lasalgaon on Friday as against 15,000 quintals on Thursday,” a Lasalgaon APMC official said, reported TOI.
In Rajasthan, farmers staged protests and stopped trucks supplying milk and vegetables. Farmers in Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur, Sikar, etc. spilled milk on roads and highways. At some places like Chomu in Jaipur, they tried to forcefully shut the market.
In Madhya Pradesh, the first day of the strike passed off peacefully, barring stray scuffles. However, vegetable supplies were hit badly with barely 30% of the daily need landing up at mandis in Bhopal, triggering a price spike.
In Jalandhar, Punjab, farmers led by Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee went to the vegetable market and other places and told the farmers not to bring vegetables, fodder or milk to the city till July 10. They also visited the Verka Milk Plant and told those bringing milk there not to bring it from Saturday.
The government appeared dismissive of the protest. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that some organisation are using the ongoing strike to get fame in media. Speaking to news agency ANI, Singh said, “Desh mein 12-14 Crore kisaan hain. Kisi bhi sangathan mein 1000-2000 kisaan svabhavik hain aur media mein aane ke liye anokha kaam karna hi padta hai.”
Madhya Pradesh Agriculture minister Balkrishna Patidar on Saturday said no strike of farmers was taking place in the country, reported ANI. Praising state government’s schemes, Patidar said that farmers are happy with the schemes CM has launched for their benefit. He further added that the farmers have faith on the state and central government.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar termed the farmer’s agitation as unnecessary things. Khattar said that the agitators have no issues and are focusing on unnecessary things. He also said that if they dont sell their products, then they themselves will suffer loss.