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Vegetable Prices Soar Across Cities as Farmers Stop Sending Supplies, May Continue to Spike

Farmers’ unions across eight states launched a mega 10-day protest on Friday morning, shutting down supply of milk, vegetables and essential farm produce to mark the first anniversary of the Mandsaur demonstration in MP in which six farmers were killed in police firing.

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Updated:June 3, 2018, 12:54 AM IST
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Vegetable Prices Soar Across Cities as Farmers Stop Sending Supplies, May Continue to Spike
A labourer rests on sacks of vegetables during the strike called by farmers' unions. (PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: As the ongoing farmers' protests across eight states entered the second day, retail prices of vegetables shot up in many cities with some of the organisers threatening to further intensify the stir from June 5

Protesting farmers have stopped the supply of vegetables, fruits, milk and other items to various cities and instead they chose to throw away their produce with many spilling milk and dropping their vegetables on the roads as a mark of protest.

According to PTI, while the impact of farmers' stir on price of farm commodities was not visible on Friday, the first day of the protest, the retail prices of vegetables in several cities rose in the range of Rs 10-20 per kg on Saturday.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday mocked the 10-day farmers' protest that has been launched across eight states by calling it "issue-less".

"Kisan hartal (farmers' strike) doesn't have any purpose or topic. This protest is unnecessary," Khattar said. He then added that the organisers of the strike were only harming the farmers as they wouldn't be able to sell their produce for ten days. "By saying they won't sell farmers' produce they'll only cause losses to the farmers," the Haryana chief minister said, according to ANI.

Farmers’ unions across eight states launched a mega 10-day protest on Friday morning, shutting down supply of milk, vegetables and essential farm produce to mark the first anniversary of the Mandsaur demonstration in MP in which six farmers were killed in police firing. The strike is effective in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.

In Madhya Pradesh, about 15,000 police personnel have been posted at various headquarters for 24 continuous hours for all 10 days of the strike. Police headquarters in Bhopal are monitoring the situation very closely while 18 districts have been identified as sensitive where extra police force have been deployed.

Social activist Medha Patkar, too, reached Sehore to express support to the protesting farmers. ADM GP Mali and SDM Mukul Gupta also visited the Bhopal mandi after observing a very low turnout of farmers compared to other days.

As the ongoing farmers strike entered the second day on Saturday, vendors in Delhi-NCR vegetable market said prices have shot up due to country-wide farmers’ protest. Delhi may face problems in supply of fresh vegetables, fruits and other perishables in next week in case the farmers' stir in neighbouring states intensifies in the coming days.

The retail prices of vegetables in city's different areas were reportedly already up by 20-50 per cent, with the buzz of the farmers' strike.

According to traders in Chandigarh, the price of tomatoes soared to Rs 20-25 per kg against Rs 10-15 per kg prevailing two days ago. Similarly, retail prices of potatoes, capsicum, bottle gourd, cucumber, have also gone up on short supplies, said a PTI report.

More than 100 farmers' groups are participating in a 10-day nation-wide strike to demand a complete loan waiver in the agriculture sector and the implementation of recommendations made by the MS Swaminathan Committee. The strike, declared by the All India Kisan Mahasangh, is being staged in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, among other states.

The Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on Saturday accused the Maharashtra government of having a "negative approach" to the ongoing 10-day farmers' protest and said the stir would intensify from June 5.

"Farmers across the state are holding protests but the government seems to have a negative approach over keeping the promises it had made to farmers last month," AIKS general secretary Ajit Navle told reporters.

At a meeting of farmers' organisations on Saturday, it was decided that the protests would be intensified from June 5, he said. "We have given a call to farmers to stop selling their produce meant for cities," Navle said.

Farmers in Ahmednagar spill milk down a road during a state-wide protest, in Pune on Friday. (PTI Photo)
Farmers in Ahmednagar spill milk down a road during a state-wide protest, in Pune on Friday. (PTI Photo)

There has been no response from the government on the demands of the protesting farmers, AIKS general secretary Ajit Navle told reporters in Mumbai as the agitation entered its second day.

Meanwhile, farmers in Mandsaur who are sitting on a 10-day 'kisan avkash' strike prepared 'kheer' and distributed it among villagers. They are not supplying vegetables, fruits, grains and milk to the cities.

Madhya Pradesh minister for agriculture, Balakrishna Patidar on Saturday said that no farmers are participating in the strike and that they are happy with the schemes offered by the CM.

"Its June 2 today, where is the strike happening? No farmers are participating in the strike. Farmers are happy with the schemes the chief minister has launched for them. They have faith that the state and central government will solve their problems," he said.

The protesting farmers have decided to stop supplies instead of blocking roads. Among their major demands are one-time loan waiver, higher minimum support prices and higher prices for their produce in general.

Four farmers were taken into preventive custody, said Bathinda police station Sadar SHO Iqbal Singh. The farmers even staged sit-in outside police station demanding release of their fellow farmers.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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