On Tuesday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-political) made an announcement that farmers would embark on a march to the national capital in February. This would come after a series of mahapanchayats to be conducted across the country over the next three months, aimed at addressing concerns related to what they perceive as “anti-farmer” policies of the central government.
During their national executive meeting, the organization strategized their movement and addressed various demands. The organization’s statement mentioned, “In the meeting, it was decided to organize 20 mahapanchayats across the country within the next three months to raise awareness among farmers about the government’s policies deemed unfavorable to farmers and to highlight the farmers’ demands. Following these mahapanchayats, a march to Delhi is scheduled for February 26, 2024.”
The farmers have delineated eight primary demands, including the implementation of a law that guarantees the purchase of crops at the minimum support price (MSP), debt relief, the cessation of privatization in the electricity sector, and the provision of pensions to farmers aged 60 and above.
During the meeting, all participating organizations unanimously passed a resolution condemning both the central and Delhi governments for unjustly attributing pollution in the national capital to the actions of farmers. The organization raised the question as to why pollution in Delhi intensifies only after the festival season, coinciding with the commencement of the harvest of 1509 and PR varieties of paddy in late September.
The leaders of the farmers also highlighted that in 2019, the Supreme Court had directed state governments to offer a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal on paddy to farmers who refrained from burning stubble, yet no state government has implemented this bonus thus far. Moreover, the leaders pointed out that governments have failed to make adequate arrangements for the availability of super seeder and baler machines to effectively manage stubble.