New Delhi: Thousands of farmers facing death, starvation and the burden of loans continued their dharna on the cold and indifferent streets of the Capital seeking waiver of crop loans and market intervention methods to lift their lives above the farm crisis.
Joining the neglected lot were several hundreds of the families of farmers who committed suicide in the two Telugu States. With the Governments, both State and Centre, turning a blind eye to their crisis, more than 50,000 farmers of 184 farmers organisations from across the country have joined the All India Kisan Mukti Sansad to pressing for their demands in the three-day programme.
A resolution was passed by the delegates to continue the struggle for justice at the State levels too. In the mock Parliament, they demanded that two bills be passed in Parliament seeking minimum support price (50 per cent more than the total investment and cost incurred by farmers) and waiver of crop loans. The mock parliament also demanded that the two demands be introduced in the upcoming session of the Parliament.
Komali and Vennela, members of farmer-victim family of Warangal in Telangana and Ramanamma and Ranganayakamma of Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh bemoaned the anti-farmer policies of the governments that led to the suicides in their family members.
They explained that the earning members of their families borrowed money from private money-lenders and could not repay the same due to spurious seeds and pesticides that doomed their crops. Governments had not intervened despite their repeated pleas.
Lalita Kumari of the Rythu Sadhana Samiti and film maker Narayana Rao demanded implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committe to prevent suicides in the farm sector. “So far three lakh farmers have committed suicides in the country and yet no government was moved. False promises are made during elections and no leader was really interested in protecting the farmers or in helping their cause", former Minister, VaddeSobhanadreeswara Rao said.
Farmers’ families from Telangana's Siddipet, Medak, Nalgonda, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Warangal and Karimangar and those from Kadapa, Kurnool, Srikakulam and Nellore (in all 73 families - AP 33 and Telangana 40) recountedtheir tales of horror pointing out that more than 300 farmers had committed suicide in Telangana in the last three years.
Failure of cotton, mirchi, paddy and groundnut crops was explained by them. While the AP Government did not announce any ex-gratia at all; the Telangana Government had promised Rs 6 lakh each to the families but no compensation was given, they explained. Failure of borewells was another reasons cited for losses. In all, about 6,000 farmers from the two Telugu States took part in the protests.