A group of farmers camping at the Noida-Delhi Chilla border in support of tillers’ demands to scrap the three central farm laws, on Sunday sought the government to set up a Kisan Aayog to decide the minimum support price for their crops. Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) spearheading the sit-in at Chilla border also demanded the statutory provision for the pension to farmers.
BKU (Bhanu) chief Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh raised the demand saying they would provide succour to farmers across the country. “We demand the creation of a ‘Kisan Aayog’ (farmers commission) which will have farmers as representatives and will set the minimum support price for crops,” Singh said. He said the way industrialists and businessmen decide the price for their products, farmers too will decide the price of their crops and the government will have to procure it at that rate. The government can then distribute the crop to the needy people on subsidised rates as it is doing now and the remaining crop could be exported, said Singh, camping at the Chilla border since December 1.
He also demanded a pension of Rs 10,000 monthly for farmers and cultivators who have reached an age of 60 years. The MPs and MLAs who are elected by us are entitled to pension even after losing an election. Give something to the public also. There should be a government compensation of Rs 1 crore for family of a farmer who dies, Rs 2 crore for martyrs in police and Rs 5 crore for martyrs in defence forces,” he said. “Had I been the prime minister, I would have fulfilled these demands in an hour. But I am not the prime minister,” he said.
The protestors have gathered at the Noida border and want to proceed to Delhi to join the larger congregation of farmers from Haryana and Punjab camping at Delhi’s various border point with Haryana. Thousands of farmers are currently staying put at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
They have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big businessmen. The government has been maintaining that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture. Government officials said efforts are being made for next round of talks between representatives of the Centre and the farmers so that the logjam over the new laws could end.