Thousands of farmers from Uttar Pradesh marched towards Delhi on 21st September under the umbrella of Bharatiya Kisan Sangathan (BKS) to present a range of demands to the government.
UP Canesugar farmers’ march water-cannoned (file photo)
Farmers from various parts of western UP gathered in Noida on 19th September to march to Kisan Ghat in Delhi the next morning to draw attention to money from sugarcane sales owed to them by UP government and rising electricity rates. They came from Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Shamli and Baghpat under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangathan. They were demanding settlement of sugarcane dues in 4 days, electricity rates for farmers to be slashed to Rs.100/month and full farm loan waiver for all.
The march was stopped at the UP border. Later, the farmers had a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture. The farmers were assured that the central government would ensure payment of the dues of sugarcane crop within 14 days and that the UP government would be advised to increase the daily payment for cow maintenance; they were also promised that a campaign would be started to make Hindon and Kali rivers pollution-free. The farmers were also given an assurance that they would have a greater say in deciding the minimum support price of crops.
However, based on their experience of hearing empty promises, the BKS vowed to keep a close watch on the promises made by the government.
Demands of the UP Farmers:
- Debts of all farmers should be completely waived off
- Farmers should get free electricity for irrigation
- Farmers must get free education and health facilities
- Farmers and labourers must receive a pension of Rs 5,000 a month after the age of 60
- Prices of crops should be decided in the presence of farmers’ representatives
- The farmers should get benefit of accident insurance scheme
- Stray cattle rearers must receive allowance of Rs 300 per day
- Farmers must be paid the price of sugarcane along with interest on time
- All contaminated rivers should be made pollution-free
- Report of the Swaminathan Commission must be implemented.