Farmers demand total debt waiver, remunerative crop prices

The gathering was organised under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, comprising 180 peasant groups from across the country.

New Delhi: Thousands of farmers from across the country assembled here today, and demanded a one-time total farm debt waiver and remunerative prices for their produce.

At a 'Kisan Mukti Sansad' or farmers' liberation parliament, two "bills" were passed for debt and remunerative prices for their produce.

The gathering was organised under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), comprising 180 peasant organisations from all over the country.

According to AIKSCC leaders, the "bills" passed by them will be placed in Parliament as private member's bills by Lok Sabha member Raju Shetty of the Swabhimani Paksha and Rajya Sabha member K K Ragesh of the CPI(M).

"We will also seek the support of other political parties to ensure that these private member's bills are passed in Parliament," said Ashok Dhawale, a leader of the All India Kisan Sabha, a constituent of AIKSCC.

According to the AIKSCC, "steady rise in input costs, like fuel, pesticides and fertilisers and even water, and slashing of subsidies by the government" are some of the key factors behind cost versus income "imbalance" being faced by the farmers at present.

The protesting farmers have alleged that the ruling BJP has done nothing for the farmers and instead has been using them to meet its political interests.

"The prime minister earlier said that no state would give bonus above the MSP (minimum support price) and now before the (Assembly) election in Gujarat, when cotton prices are down, the Gujarat government announced (bonus) of Rs 500 per bale. But what happens to farmers of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab or Tamil Nadu?" CPI leader Atul Anjan said.

"This is blatant pampering of farmers and using the situation to meet your political interests and not the interests of farmers," he added.