Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Farmer protest: Haryana Police fire tear gas as Delhi march resumes

Tear gas shells were fired by Haryana security personnel on Wednesday after some young farmers heading towards the multi-layered barricades at the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana. Farmers have vowed to continue their Delhi march after four rounds of talks with the government failed to secure a deal.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Arjun Munda on Wednesday again invited the farmer leaders for discussion on the MSP issue.

“The government is ready to discuss all the issues like MSP demand, crop diversification, stubble issue, FIR in the fifth round,” he said.

Farmers are well prepared for any amount of force used by Haryana to stop their march. The protesters are geared up with masks, big fans and bulldozers to move ahead. Haryana Police urged excavator owners to withdraw their machines from the protest site.

The Punjab government has stepped up security measures in the wake of the farmers’ protest march to Delhi which began from the border area of Shambhu and Khanauri.

According to The Indian Express, Punjab has deployed around 4,800 police personnel at Shambhu. The state government has pressed into service 20 ambulances at Rajpura and Shambhu and 12 at Dhabi Gujran near the Khanauri border. Eighteen duty magistrates and eight Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officers have been deputed as special executive magistrates.

The Delhi Police has beefed up security in the national capital and directed its personnel to ensure strict vigil at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha, in their press statement released on 19 February, rejected the solution put forth by the government, wherein government agencies would enter into five-year contracts with the farmers, to purchase five crops, like maize, cotton, and certain staple pulses, at the government’s current rate of MSP (A2+FL basis), which is 1.5 times the cost of production undertaken by the farmers.

This would also only apply to farmers who would shift away from paddy farming, to promote crop diversification. 

The statement draws light on the vague nature of the proposal, urging the Centre to clarify which formula for MSP they would be following, the current A2 + FL +50% or the C2 + 50%. The latter was proposed by the Swaminathan Commission and offers a higher rate of MSP as it includes the imputed cost of owned capital and land as well.

The SKM has also criticized the discussions for their lack of transparency and lack of public information made available. They have also brought to light other demands which seem to not have been addressed in the recent proposal. 

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