New Delhi: As many as 120 farmer organisations from around the country came together on Friday in the city to form an umbrella outfit to demand farmers’ rights. Raju Shetty, leader of Swabhimani Paksha, an ally of BJP, and Yogendra Yadav were also a part of the meeting.
The new outfit, All India Farmers Sangharsh Coordination Committee, said it will take out a yatra across the country on July 6, exactly a month after the police firing on farmers in Madhya Pradesh, in which six farmers were killed.
The yatra will conclude in Champaran, Bihar, on October 2 to mark the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's Champaran struggle.
The farmers’ body said its two main demands are farm loan waivers and minimum support price that is 50% over the cost of production, as recommended by the MS Swaminathan Commission.
“The yatra is the first phase of giving a direction to farmers' struggles,” Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan said after the meeting. "We will press for the implementation of both issues, because one without the other will mean that farmers will not benefit," he added.
The real issue for farmers, Yadav said, is that farmers do not get the right price for their crops and therefore are forced to borrow money, pushing them into debt.
Regarding farm loan waivers, the working group said that the loans of all farmers taken from commercial, cooperative and all other types of financial institutions should be waived.
Each organization will nominate one member to represent them, but a working group has been formed to take day to day decisions. The working group consists of prominent farm leaders like Raju Shetty, Ayyakanu, who was the face of the Tamil Nadu farmers protesting in Delhi, Chandrasekhar of the Karnataka Rajya Rythu Sangha and Dr Sunilam of Madhya Pradesh.