All across the country, farmers are marching in defence of their demands for state procurement of their produce at remunerative prices and for cancellation of their debts. They are protesting in various ways to show their anger that their demands have remained unfulfilled. Time and again, various governments at the centre and in the states have criminally betrayed their promises. They are determined to fight for their right to life and security of livelihood.
While farmers in Maharashtra have marched hundreds of miles to demand their rights from the government of Maharashtra, farmers in Tamilnadu are going from district to district mobilizing their peasant brothers and sisters in preparation of a similar protest.
Meanwhile, in Tamilnadu, farmers in Dindigul district were forced to dump their produce on the roads after tomato prices touched an all-time low. “What was selling at Rs. 60 per kg in wholesale market and Rs. 75 in retail outlets two months ago had suddenly fallen to single digit figures and this has shocked us. Hence, we dumped the produce in a public place,” explained a farmer from Ayyalur. They could not realize even what they had spent on raising the crop in the first place.
Scores of farmers in Rayakottai, Krishnagiri district and Valappadi in Salem, which are the big tomato markets, were seen dumping tomatoes into nearby lakes, turning them red, after tomato prices plummeted from Rs 20 to Rs 2 this month.
Farmers have been driven to grow tomato as it is a short season crop and can be grown in the three months when water is available in these districts. So, lack of water for irrigation is a basic problem.
In Uttar Pradesh, it is potato farmers who are facing a crisis since wholesale prices have dipped to less than half of the cost of production. They have been dumping their potatoes on the roads, and in one instance, outside chief minister Adityanath’s Lucknow home.
In the 2017 rabi season, several farmers suffered massive losses as the price of potatoes in the wholesale market fell well below the cost of production. They were expecting some relief for those losses in the budget, but now they realize that there are only big empty promises being made in response to their demand for relief.
On April 11, 2017, the then newly-elected BJP government in UP announced that it will buy one lakh tonnes of potatoes from farmers at Rs 487 per quintal when prices had fallen to as low as Rs 150 per quintal. However, within days of the announcement, farmers faced a situation where officials at the procurement centres were rejecting most of the produce. Eventually, the government only procured 13,000 tonnes against the promised one lakh tonnes.
The crisis intensified in December 2017, when cold storages in the state too started dumping potatoes on to the streets. Farmers who had stored some part of their produce in the cold storages have lost heavily. They had to pay Rs 250 per quintal for storage through the season when the prices in the mandi were below Rs 200 per quintal. With transport costs added on, most of them have been unwilling to take their potatoes back.
The situation is getting worse as the new harvest is trickling in. Prices are already rock bottom and the market will be flooded further. As the new harvest nears, demands for government intervention are growing.The farmers are demanding that the UP government buy potatoes from farmers at Rs 1,500 per quintal without any conditions and compensate the farmers for losses suffered in the previous season.
This document, What Kind of Party?, was presented by
Comrade Lal Singh on behalf of the Central Committee
of the Communist Ghadar Party of India to the Second
National Consultative Conference held December 29-30, 1993.
The first part of this pamphlet is an analysis of facts and phenomena to identify and expose the real aims behind the Note Ban. The second part is devoted to a critical appraisal of the government’s claims that it will reduce inequality, corruption and terrorism. The third part is what Communist Ghadar Party believes is the real solution to these problems and the immediate program of action towards that solution.