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Business News/ News / Farmers set to resume protest; agri minister Munda urges peace
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Farmers set to resume protest; agri minister Munda urges peace

Farmers plan to continue with their ‘Delhi chalo’ agitation after rejecting the government’s proposal to buy pulses, maize and cotton crops at guaranteed prices for five years.

Police conduct a mock drill at the Singhu border as the farmers' 'Delhi chalo' protest march is set to resume from Wednesday. (ANI) Premium
Police conduct a mock drill at the Singhu border as the farmers' 'Delhi chalo' protest march is set to resume from Wednesday. (ANI)

NEW DELHI : Union agriculture minister Arjun Munda late Tuesday evening appealed to the protesting farmers to maintain peace, after they threatened to resume their agitation and march to the national capital on Wednesday.

Farmers on Monday rejected the government’s proposal to buy pulses, maize and cotton crops at guaranteed prices for five years, and announced they would continue with their ‘Delhi chalo’ agitation.

“I would appeal to the farmers and the farmer organisations which are connected with this (protest) to maintain peace. We have to take it forward from discussion to solutions...We must keep discussing this issue...We all want peace...and we should together find a solution for this issue. We tried to discuss the government’s side and several proposals were also discussed. We have come to know that they (farmers) are not satisfied with the proposals but this discussion should continue and we must find a solution to it peacefully," Munda told ANI in an interview.

Government representatives had proposed five-year contracts with farmers to buy pulses, maize, and cotton at the minimum support price (MSP) through its agencies. However, the farmers, who have been pressing the Union government to accept their demands such as a legal guarantee on the minimum support price, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, and farm debt waiver, were not impressed. Farmer leaders said the proposal was not in their interest, adding that they want a legal MSP guarantee for all 23 crops, not just pulses, maize, and cotton.

The farmers are led by two umbrella bodies—the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM)—representing 200 farm unions.

As the farmers geared up to resume their ‘Delhi chalo’ march, the Delhi Police on Tuesday directed security personnel deployed at the city’s Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur border points to stay alert.

The latest round of farmers’ protest follows muted farm earnings over the past year, during which the government placed export curbs on wheat, rice, sugar and onion, depressing local prices. Farm incomes were hit also because of repeated climate shocks such as heatwaves and uneven rains. 

On the seventh day of their march on Tuesday, the farmers stayed put at the Shambhu and Khanauri points of the Punjab-Haryana border.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Puja Das
Puja Das is a New Delhi based reporter, covering food, farm, fertiliser, water, and climate change policies for Mint. Puja reports on food security, farmers' distress and how the agriculture sector is impacting India's rural economy along with policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at COP21 in Paris. Puja holds a post-graduation degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore.
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Published: 20 Feb 2024, 09:23 PM IST
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