Western Uttar Pradesh farmers on interim budget: We asked for relief not bribe

Farmers of UP’s ‘Green Belt’ are unhappy over the provision of ₹6000 relief in interim budget to a farmer who owns less than 2 hectares of land. They expected some concrete measures but received none

NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif
NH Photo by Aas Mohd Kaif

Aas Mohd Kaif

Just before the election, the government in its election budget had announced to give ₹6000 per year to farmers. This amount will be given to a farmer’s family. There are some conditions for this. One of these conditions is that the farmer should not own more than 2 hectares of land.

In Western Uttar Pradesh, this means 5 acres or 27 bigha. The farmers of the western Uttar Pradesh which is called the Green Belt, are calling it a decision a joke on them. Farmers believe that this is like fleecing them so that they do not talk about their issues and problems.

Sudheer, a farmer from Kairana says, “a farmer spends almost ₹1 lakh 25 thousand in irrigating this much land. The government of the state is taking 18 thousand rupees only for the electricity. The school fees of a farmer’s children amounts to ₹10,000 annually. The government is ridiculing the farmer by giving 17 rupees a day to his family. We do not need it. We want a fair price for our crop. The outstanding payment of the sugarcane farmers is about ₹10 000 crores. Our money should be paid to us. We are not begging for money.”

According to Islam Ahmad who cultivates 18 beegha land, “ PM Modi had promised 15 lakhs but now he has talked about giving ₹6000 only, that too in three instalments. This time, he will surely give the money but there is no guarantee for the future.” Islam’s wife Munazra says that Islam smokes beedis worth ₹500 in a month. So, this help is negligible.

Farmers staged a dharna for more than a week in front of a Shamli sugar mill for their payment. Finally, they left. They were just given the assurance by the government instead of their outstanding payment. During this agitation, a farmer Jaipal Singh climbed up a water tank with the intention to commit suicide. Now after this budget he says, “ it’s like a drop in the ocean. The government is actually hitting us through sweet gestures. We just want the payment for our hard work, which it is not giving to us.”

Not only farmers but farmers leaders too are expressing their unhappiness over this budget. The spokesperson of farmers’ organisation Bharatiya Kisan Union, Rakesh Tikait strongly criticised the interim budget, “people will respond to this budget in upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Farmers are self respecting people. They work hard to feed themselves and the country. They do not need charity from anybody. They want whatever is rightfully theirs. Farmers had hoped that the government will implement Swaminathan Commission report. There will be provision of hundred percent purchase on the support prices of crops. There will be a complete loan waiver to prevent farmers’ suicides. But nothing of this sort happened. Giving 500 rupees per month is like rubbing salt on farmers’ wounds. They were hoping that the premium of the crop insurance scheme will be reduced. There will be a provision to check the falling prices of milk. But nothing has happened.”

In the interim budget presented on Friday, implementation of Kisan Samman Nidhi was announced under which the farmers who have less than 2 hectares of land will get ₹2000 straight in their bank accounts. Shubham Malik a farmer from Shamli says, “ the government has put so many conditions. First they created so much noise over loan waiver and then so many conditions were imposed that the farmers felt cheated.”

According to the government this scheme will benefit 12 crore farmers. Sudhir says, “I f in the coming days the government puts a condition that the farmers who have tractor or bullock cart will not be included in the scheme or it introduces something new like Kisan card on the line os Aadhar card, then what will happen? In fact the issue is not of ₹2000. The real issue is the intention of the government. This government is the government for capitalists and that is why we doubt their intentions. The scheme will be implemented from December. This also shows that they have votes and elections in their mind and not farmers’ welfare.

A young farmer from Baghpat Arif Rajput says, “ A farmer has a strong faith in the power of hard work. He makes his own future. This scheme is not meant for our samman (respect) but it’s an insult to farmers.”

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines