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Farmers' Stir Remains Peaceful But Vegetable Prices Continue to Soar on 3rd Day of Strike

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, and ex-VHP leader Praveen Togadia are likely to join the stir in Mandsaur, the epicentre of last year's agitation in which six people were killed in police firing, on June 8.

PTI

Updated:June 3, 2018, 10:53 PM IST
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Farmers' Stir Remains Peaceful But Vegetable Prices Continue to Soar on 3rd Day of Strike
An image from the ongoing Farmer's stir. (Photo: PTI)
Bhopal/Chandigarh/Jaipur: As their agitation entered the third day on Sunday, farmers in many states dumped their produce on roads as a mark of protest while vegetable prices rose in several urban areas.

The stir remained peaceful even as political rivals targeted the BJP-ruled Centre over the agitation.

Madhya Pradesh remained largely calm on the third day of the 10-day agitation by farmers demanding remunerative prices for their produce and waiver of farm loans.

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, and ex-VHP leader Praveen Togadia are likely to join the stir in Mandsaur, the epicentre of last year's agitation in which six people were killed in police firing, on June 8.

"Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Praveen Togadia would attend our 'Dhikkar Diwas' (condemnation day) programme and condolence meeting which we have rescheduled to June 8 instead of June 6," said Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh president Shivkumar Sharma 'Kakkaji'.

The Mahasangh, a federation of 130 farmers' bodies from across the country, is spearheading the nationwide protest.

Sharma alleged the police have been trying to break the ongoing "Gaon bandh" agitation by forcing farmers to come out of villages with agricultural produce.

"This is a village shutdown agitation and farmers are not coming out of their villages. However, police are trying to make farmers leave villages by adopting various means. At places, the administration is sharing fake videos showing that farmers are not participating in the agitation," he alleged.

Meanwhile, the police have beefed up security in Mandsaur ahead of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's visit on June 6 to mark the first anniversary of killing of six farmers.

Mandsaur SP Manoj Kumar Singh said drones were brought from Bhopal "to keep an eye on traffic movement for security reasons during Gandhi's public meeting".

Mandsaur Mandi (agriculture market) inspector Samir Das said the arrival of vegetables was normal. Bhopal Krishi Upaj Mandi secretary Vinay Prakash Pateria said there was not much impact of the ongoing agitation.

"Today was a holiday in mandis. However, about 2,500 quintals of vegetables arrived in (Bhopal) mandi as usual. There is no impact of the ongoing agitation," Pateria said.

In neighbouring Rajasthan there were reports of vegetable prices registering a steep rise.

"The prices of vegetables have increased by 25-30 per cent in the last two days because the supply has been disrupted due to farmers' agitation," Krishna Kumar, a vegetable vendor in Muhana vegetable market said in Jaipur.

Vegetables are supplied in Muhana mandi, Lal Kothi mandi and to other retail markets in the city from areas like Sanganer and Chomu. At present, farmers are not supplying to the mandis.

The vendor said there was little impact on fruit prices, but vegetable supply was affected.

Vegetable supply to Muhana mandi was on Sunday nearly 20 per cent less than usual, another vendor Rahul Tanwar informed.

In Chomu mandi, vendors supported farmers, and did not open shops.

However, there was not much visible impact in Uttar Pradesh of the 10-day strike with the supply of fruits and vegetables remaining normal across the state.

The Rashtriya Kisan Manch, an organisation working for the welfare of the farmers in UP, has distanced itself from the protest, its spokesperson said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, farmers in Punjab and Haryana continued to dump their produce on roads as a mark of protest, while vegetable prices soared in several cities of the two states.

At several places in Punjab and Haryana, including Ludhiana, Moga, Muktsar, Kurukshetra, Fatehabad and Sonipat, farmers held protests.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said protesting "will not serve any purpose" and asserted that government was working for farmers.

"Be it schemes related to crop compensation, crop insurance or shielding the farmers from price fluctuations or schemes related to irrigation, we have launched many initiatives for their welfare," Khattar told reporters.

He said farmers would never forgive "those who force them to throw their vegetables and spill the milk on the roads".

Responding to a question, Khattar said "those who are stopping farmers from bringing their produce to markets and forcing them to throw them on roads, would be sternly dealt with".

However, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh criticised the Centre for allegedly being apathetic to the distress in the agriculture sector.

"When farmers, who feed the nation, are forced to take to streets to draw attention to their pitiable condition, then it does not augur well for the country," he said in a statement.

The farmers are suffering as a result of the central government's failure to waive their debts, which many state governments, including Punjab, had been repeatedly seeking, and also to give them the due price for their produce, he said, reiterating his demand for implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report.

Former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda claimed that policies of the BJP government at the Centre and in the state had delivered a "death-blow" to the farmers.

Due to the protest, 5,862 litres of milk reached Vita Milk plant in Ambala City on Saturday against a daily average of 76,000 litres of milk, officials said.

However, a senior official at the plant said they have sufficient stock of milk and the supply was not affected much.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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