BHOPAL: As the farmers' protest in Madhya Pradesh entered its third day today, people in many areas of the region faced shortage of milk and vegetables, despite government's efforts to smoothen the supply.
RSS's farmer wing Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and the opposition Congress today expressed support for the agitators who are demanding better prices for farm produce among other things.
Agitating farmers stopped vendors and emptied milk containers on road at three places in Dhar district. A truck carrying mangoes from Andhra Pradesh to Mandsaur was stopped in Bidwal area of Dhar district.
Protesters threw the mangoes on road, to the delight of passers-by who collected the fruit. Police registered a case against the protesters.
In Dewas, milk supply was badly affected and vegetable markets remained virtually closed. Dairies too remained closed and a fight between farmers and vegetable vendors was reported from Chapda area of the district.
Prices of milk and vegetables have almost doubled in Neemuch district. Price of okra and tomato has risen to Rs 40 per kg from Rs 20. The price of milk has gone up to Rs 60 per litre from Rs 40.
There was a scuffle between some vegetable vendors from a Dalit community and farmers when the latter stopped them from selling vegetables at Khawasha in the tribal-dominated Jhabua district.
The agitation also crippled milk supply in Khandwa district.
In Mandsaur district, police and revenue officials had a tough time getting 40,000 litres of milk from dairies distributed.
Shortage of milk and vegetables was seen in markets in Indore district too. "Five hundred policemen were deployed this morning for facilitating milk and vegetables supply," Indore deputy inspector general of police H C Mishra said.
The state capital Bhopal too has started feeling the pinch. Prices of vegetables and fruits in city markets have shot up.
In a surprise development, BKS's Indore-Ujjain division's treasurer Laxminarayan Patel said it supports farmers' protest. "But we are against vandalism," he said.
Asked why BKS came out with support on the third day of agitation, Patel said it was with farmers from day one.
Senior Congress MLA Mukesh Nayak also supported the farmers. "Farmers are unhappy with the state government and were unanimous about fighting for their demands," he said.
Congress leaders today addressed press conferences across the state to express support for the protest.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said late last night that all issues can be sorted out through talks.
Farmers should not fall prey to those who have vested interests in such agitations, he said.
Incidentally, farmers in neighbouring Maharashtra too are conducting a similar protest, blocking supply of milk and vegetables to cities.