NEW DELHI: As farmers protest continue in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, CPI (M) Thursday targeted the central government, saying farmers’ struggles in two states have punctured the tall claims made by the government about the transformation of agriculture and empowerment of farmers.
“It is a bitter irony that the day the news appeared in the newspapers that five farmers were killed in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh due to police firing, full page advertisements about the success in the agriculture sector in the three-year rule of the Modi government were given,” said editorial in CPI(M) mouthpiece People’s Democracy.
The Left party said that both in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the basic demand of the farmers is a fair price for their agricultural produce by ensuring a minimum support price for all crops to cover the cost of production plus 50 percent profit.
“This was the recommendation of the National Commission of Farmers, which was included in the election manifesto of the BJP. But in practice, the Modi government has reneged on this promise. It has been fixing the MSP for various crops far below the actual cost of production,” the party said.
Farmers in the districts of Mandsaur, Neemuch, Jhabua, Ratlam and Ujjain were on strike and agitating since June 1 for fair prices for their produce and loan waivers. Six farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur. In Maharashtra, farmers went on a strike from June 1.
“The demand for loan waiver is being raised by a desperation driven by rural distress and farmers’ suicides. The BJP-ruled Maharashtra saw the highest number of suicides in 2015-16. The BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh accounted for 6,535 (51.85 per cent) of total farmers suicides in 2015,” said the party.
The Left attacked the government saying the much vaunted schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana have proved illusory.
“In the case of the former, the allocation has overwhelmingly gone to pay private insurance companies rather than to benefit farmers. In the case of the latter, the present allocation for irrigation will not even mean Rs 10,000 per hectare of unirrigated land,” It added.
Appealing to BJP government to implement its promise of providing farmers with a fair price for their produce based on the cost of production plus 50 percent profit, the party said that the state governments concerned should initiate debt relief measures which will include loan waivers.
“To begin with, the BJP state governments in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh should stop police repression on the protesting farmers and hold talks to meet their genuine demands,” it added.