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‘Withdraw from WTO and trade agreements, a monthly pension of Rs 10,000 to farmers’: Demands made by Political ‘farmers’ while marching to Delhi

Ahead of the farmers’ ‘Chalo Dilli’ march call given for 13th February, Haryana and Rajasthan Police have sealed borders with Punjab to stop the large influx of protesting farmers from the state. Notably, more than 200 farmers’ unions, including the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, have announced a ‘Delhi Chalo’ march scheduled for 13th February (Tuesday) demanding legal guarantee for MSP and other demands.

Section 144 imposed in Delhi, parts of Rajasthan and Haryana

In the wake of the upcoming Farmers Protest 2.0, the Delhi Police has imposed Section 144 in the national capital for a month, till 12th March. However, certain activities like weddings, funeral processions, and religious rallies are allowed after getting permission from the authorities concerned. Additionally, using amplifiers or loudspeakers on any private vehicle or in a public area is prohibited unless specifically allowed.

Apart from Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan have also taken similar measures in a few districts. While the borders are being sealed, the Haryana government has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in 15 out of 22 districts. Rajasthan has imposed Section 144 in the Sri Ganganagar district which borders Punjab’s Fazilka, Muktsar, and Bathinda districts.

Demands of the protesting farmers

The Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) and Samyukt Kisan Morcha-Non Political (SKM-NP) have raised several demands before the Union government, here is a list of the prominent demands of the Farmer Unions. 

  1. A Law to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops. 
  2. Introduce a pension scheme specifically designed for farmers and agricultural labourers to ensure they have financial security in their later years. Farmers demand Rs 10000 monthly pension when a farmer turns 60 years of age. 

Speaking with ANI, General Secretary of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Sarvan Singh Pandher said, “We will start from Beas & stay at Fatehgarh Sahib. Our demands are the same- MSP guarantee law, Sugar cane should be joined with C200…When a farmer turns 60 years old he should be given Rs 10,000 a month..”

  1. Implement Swaminathan Commission Report MSP on C2 + 50% formula.
  2. Quit the World Trade Organisation and suspend all free trade agreements to protect domestic agriculture.
  3. Withdraw all cases filed across the country against agitators during the 2020-21 farmers’ protest.
  4. Implementation of a comprehensive debt relief program. This also includes a complete waiver of the loans for the entire farming and labourer community nationwide.
  5. Repeal Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2023
  6. Reinstate the nationwide implementation of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, requiring written consent from farmers and ensuring compensation at four times the collector rate.
  7. Action on those responsible for the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and ensure Justice.
  8. Provide compensation to the families of farmers who lost their lives during the Delhi agitation, along with offering employment opportunities to one member of each affected family.
  9.  Increase the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to give 200 days of employment annually and a daily wage of Rs 700. Also to integrate it with agricultural activities.
  10.  Impose severe penalties on companies engaged in the production of counterfeit seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers, alongside enhancing seed quality standards.
  11. Set up a national commission specifically for spices like chili, turmeric, and other aromatic crops to encourage and bolster their cultivation.
  12. End reducing import duty on agricultural goods

As per media reports citing sources, the government has presented to farmers that they have already fulfilled several of their demands. Around 3077 cases out of 3300 cases have been withdrawn. While 98 cases are pending in court and 53 cases are pending withdrawal which amounts to only two percent.

Further, while compensation has been provided in many cases, challenges arise regarding the identification of next of kin, particularly when immediate family ties are unclear.

Union Ministers further guaranteed farmers that they would be exempted from the provisions of the Electricity Act. Additionally, they reiterated the government’s alignment in addressing issues related to counterfeit seeds and pesticides.

As per one assessment, approximately 20,000 farmers from Punjab and 1500 from Haryana are marching towards Delhi to be part of the protests. The police have installed barricading to stop a large influx of farmers and modified tractors from Punjab, however, agitating farmers have been breaking the barricades to continuously move towards Delhi.

Meanwhile, Chaudhary Dalbir Singh Indoor Stadium in Sirsa and Guru Gobind Singh Stadium in Dabwali will be used as temporary jails to keep detained farmers. A senior officer told India Today that CAPF has been deployed in Haryana. He added, “While agitating is part of democracy, threatening to block Delhi with tractors and to cause inconvenience is not good.”

Government is hopeful of resolving the issue

Earlier, three union ministers including Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda, and Nityanand Rai met the leaders of farmer organisations in Chandigarh to allay their fears. The Union Ministers flew down to Chandigarh to reach out to farmer leaders.

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij assured that the government is in talks with the farmers and the issues will be resolved. He said, “… Three ministers of the Central government have come to Chandigarh and talks of the first round have been done. The second round of talks will be done soon. I am hopeful that this issue will be resolved soon… To protect the people of Haryana and to maintain peace and harmony in the state, we will do whatever is required.”

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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