Farmers’ protest forces Rajasthan to agree to all demands

The CPIM-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha spearheaded the agitation which saw lakhs of farmers blocking roads and bringing the entire town of Sikar to a complete standstill

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter


Agitating farmers in Sikar (Rajasthan) called off their 13-day-long protest on Thursday as the state government agreed to waive off loans up to ₹ 50,000 for each farmer and agreed to all their other demands.

The Vasundhara Raje-BJP government has constituted a high-level committee to study the loan waiver process in place in other states such as Uttar Pradesh (UP), Maharashtra and Punjab.

The meeting between farmers and state authorities lasted 11 hours before both parties agreed on the terms. The announcement will have a bearing on at least eight lakh farmers across the desert state.

The state government will also seek assistance from Centre to help them implement the recommendations of the the Swaminathan Commission on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) in a time-bound manner.

Media reports suggest that the BJP government - in principal - has agreed to withdraw hike in electricity rates for drip irrigation, relaxation in restrictions on sale of cattle, the increase in pension to ₹2000/month, besides agreeing to provide insurance claim for failure of canal irrigation.

Rajasthan’s agriculture minister Prabhulal Saini reportedly made the announcement during a press conference past midnight.

“We have agreed to waive loans for farmers up to Rs 50,000. A high-level team of specialists will talk to stakeholders in other states and chart out the process of loan waiver and its impact in Rajasthan,” he said.

Farmers celebrated the victory at protest site. In a video posted on Facebook page of CPI(M), a group of women can be seen dancing in celebration.

Senior leader of the CPI(M) and Politburo member of the party, Subhasini Ali, congratulated farmers for their heroic struggle. Speaking to National Herald over the phone, she said that the struggle would force a rethink among the ruling class over farmers’ plight.

“Bad crops, consecutive droughts and loans forced farmers to commit suicide. The Modi government has made several promises to the farmers. It must now come good on its word,” Ali said.

Implementation of Swami Swaminathan Commission report and complete loan waivers were the major recommendations. Representatives of the farmers (which comprised former MLAs from CPIM) and the government met three times to discuss the formalities before reaching an agreement.

President of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Amra Ram, expressed satisfaction at the agreement. “We regret the inconvenience caused to people due to the stir and asked the farmers to end their sit-in,” he said while announcing withdrawal of the Mahapadav and reopening of roads that were closed for the last 3 days.

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Published: 15 Sep 2017, 4:02 PM