Farmers to stage 'dharna' in front of Parliament next month

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Chandigarh, July 25 (UNI) The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) will stage a 'dharna' in front of Parliament on August eight to protest against the governments 'anti farmers' policies including its failure to give remunerative prices for agricultural produce.

The 'dharna' will be led by BKU president Mahinder Singh Tikait, Punjab BKU president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal disclosed here today.

Addressing a press conference Mr Lakhowal who is also the Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board said that agriculture had become non proftable as the input and output cost ratio had faltered.

The much hyped loan waiver scheme had failed to help the farmer of Punjab as only one per cent of the farming community would benefit from this scheme of Rs 70,000 crore, he claimed. The farmer in Punjab was not the defaulter of the banks but was in the debt trap of the money leaders, he added while calling for waiver of non institutionalised agri loans, he said.

Mr Lakhowal demanded that the rate of interest on agri loans should not exceed four per cent per annum.

He also critised the import and export policy and said that at present all the rules and regulations which tend to economically benefit the farmer are being manipulated by the government tothe farming communities disadvantage. The ban on the export of rice and maize had effected the price of the twocommodities in the domestic market to thedisadvantage of the farmers, he added.

" The government follows dual standards just to help the industrialists", he added while calling for lifting the ban on the export of rice and maize and imposition of import duty on cotton to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers. He warned the Governmenthad the farming community had lost its patience.

Former Chairman of the Agriculture Costs and Prices Commission, Mr T Haque who was also present also criticised the agri pricing policy of the government and demanded that the Swaminathan report should be implemented to benefit the farmers. He announced that he too would join the farmers of the country at the 'dharna' of August four.

UNI HS MMS1717

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