Farmer protest to continue near Delhi, schools shut in Ghaziabad today
New Delhi, Oct 2: As thousands of farmers tried to enter the national capital in a massive protest march, the government Tuesday announced that a committee of chief ministers will look into their demands, even as the protesters stayed put saying they were not "satisfied" with the assurance.
All schools and colleges in Ghaziabad will remain closed on Wednesday as a preventive measure in view of the ongoing farmers' protest. Rapid Action Force (RAF) has, meanwhile arrived at the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border, where the farmers have been stopped during 'Kisan Kranti Padyatra'.
At least 30,000 farmers walked and travelled in tractors from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. They were supposed to end their rally at Kisan Ghat, the memorial of renowned farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh, near Raj Ghat, but were stopped at the heavily-barricaded Delhi-UP border.
Angry farmers tried to break the barriers and raised slogans forcing the police to use batons, tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse them. Several protesters and policemen were injured in the process.
The farmers have been protesting as part of their "Kisan Kranti Padyatra" to demand loan waiver, subsidised electricity and fuel, pension for farmers above 60 and implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
The yatra began from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23 and farmers from places as far as Gonda, Basti and Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh and the sugarcane belt of western UP joined the agitation.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, told news agency ANI that farmer leaders who met Home Minister Rajnath Singh today and discussed their demands have reached an agreement on a majority of the issues.
But the members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), which organised the farmers' march, say that they haven't reached an agreement on the full implementation of the Swaminathan report regarding the minimum selling price (MSP), and their demand of one-time complete loan waiver.
Their demands range from farm loan waiver, implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, removing ban on the usage of tractors above 10 years and clearing out pending payments of sugarcane purchase to increased price of sugar supplied and minimum support prices.
The Kisan Kranti Yatra, which began from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23, is the first of its kind by the BKU since the death of its founder Mahendra Singh Tikait on May 15, 2011. The Tikait clan, including the patriarch's four sons, their wives, grandsons and their children have also hit the streets along with others.