Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ended his 'fast for peace' on Sunday at Dussehra Maidan in Bhopal. Despite Chouhan's emotive outreach to farmers, the agrarian activists remained unfazed, promising to escalate their stir if their demands remain unfulfilled.
Chouhan, who met small groups of farmers, said that he realises a bumper crop production sent prices crashing, and that the state government "stands firm with farmers".
Earlier on Saturday, Chouhan said,'' "We will help the farmers in any way we can, decisions will be taken and if need be, I will lay down my life for them.''
"The state government has taken many important decisions in the past years. We have made provisions for the farmers to get loans at zero interest rates and even to deposit Rs 90,000 over a loan of Rs one lakh for fertilisers and seeds," Chouhan said at BHEL's Dussehra Maidan here.
"We have always stood with the farmers during distressful times. When soyabean crop was destroyed, we distributed compensation amounting to Rs 4,800 crore while Rs 4,400 crore was distributed as insurance. Due to a good yield of onion, we bought it at Rs 6 per kg last year and Rs 8 per kg this year. Toor and moong dal (pulses) are being bought at agreed upon prices," he added.
Expressing grief over the escalating farmers' agitation, the CM said he is open to discussions with them. A temporary residence has been set up, with heavy deployment of forces at the venue.
The Opposition has slammed Chouhan's decision to go on fast. "Instead of indulging in gimmicks Chouhan should seriously address the problems of the farmers," a Congress official said.
Curfew was lifted in Mandsaur town, though night curfew will continue in Pipliamandi, where five farmers were killed in police firing on Tuesday
OneIndia News (with inputs from agencies)