Farmer’s Protest Chokes Capital

Punjab CM Mann expressed hope that discussions will take place in coming times in the larger interests of the farmers and people…reports Asian Lite News

Following the call by three farmer organisations to march to the Parliament, hundreds of farmers of Noida and Greater Noida from around 140 villages in the state came together to protest against the Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Authority, and the Uttar Pradesh government, for allegedly not accepting their demands related to compensation for their land.

Though the farmers had planned to walk up to the Parliament in the Capital, they were stopped by Noida Police at Dalit Prerana Sthal. Following talks with the police and representatives of the Gautam Budha Nagar administration, the stir, which started around 1 pm, was called off after around six hours even as farmers said they will continue their protest at their respective places in Noida and Greater Noida.

Among assurances given to the farmers were formation of a high-powered committee to look into their issues, and a meeting with the police commissioner later in the day.

“A high-powered committee has been formed, where all the farmer issues related to Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Authority will be discussed in detail,” Sukhbir Khalifa of Bharatiya Kisan Parishad, one of the organisations leading the protest, said. The other organisations were Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Sangathan and Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha. The committee would comprise an MP, an MLA, CEOs of all three authorities, NTPC CMD, and the Industrial Development minister.

On the meeting with the police commissioner, Rupesh Verma, district president of Kisan Sabha, said, “The meeting has completely failed and remained inconclusive. In the end, it was decided that another round of meetings with CEOs of three authorities will be held.”

The protest also created a huge traffic jam in the city, especially on the roads leading to Delhi with the police installing barriers at all the borders connecting Noida with the Capital.

A Noida authority official said the demands were discussed in previous meetings and were forwarded to the government.

“The board discussed both the major demands of the farmers, which is 10% developed plot and additional compensation, in its earlier meetings and the proposal has been forwarded to the UP government to take a final call…,” said the official.

Meanwhile, on the personal intervention of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the Union government and farmers reached a consensus on Thursday evening over various issues during the first round of deliberations, the state government said.

The meeting was held here and was attended by Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda and Nityanand Rai besides the Chief Minister and representatives of various farmers unions.

An official statement quoting the Chief Minister said during the first round of talks a general consensus emerged on rolling back the cases registered against farmers during the agitation against the repealed farm laws.

He said the deliberations were held in a congenial atmosphere and the Union Ministers gave their in principle approval to sympathetically consider the demands of the farmers. Mann said exemplary punishment was sought against the manufacturers of the spurious seeds so that interests of the food growers are safeguarded, adding the issue of paddy straw burning was also vehemently raised.

The Chief Minister, while presenting the case of the farmers, batted for continuing the minimum support price (MSP) regime on the crops by asserting that it is the need of hour to secure the interests of the farmers.

He said the withdrawal of the MSP is figment of imagination of only the armchair economists, who sit in their cozy offices in the national capital without bothering about the ground realities. Mann said any such move to discontinue the MSP regime will jeopardise the food security of the country and is not in the interest of the nation.

Dwelling on another issue, the Chief Minister also batted for giving major push to the crop diversification in the country as it will be beneficial for the people.

He said the country today imports pulses from countries like Mozambique and others whereas if farmers get remunerative prices then they can produce these pulses here. Mann said this would save the foreign reserves of the country, besides bringing the farmers out of rut of paddy circle thereby saving the precious water in the state.

Thanking the Union government and farmers for coming on table to discuss the issues, the Chief Minister said this is the right platform for solving the issues.

“We too don’t want that agitation should take place on these issues and rather these matters must be sorted out through bilateral dialogue,” he said.

Mann expressed hope that more such discussions will take place in coming times in the larger interests of the farmers and the people.

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