BHOPAL: As western Madhya Pradesh reels under violent protest by farmers over loan waiver and better price for their produce, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said the state government was open for a dialogue to iron out the differences and once again appealed them to maintain peace.
"The state government is always ready for talks with farmers. I appeal to the farmers to maintain calm. Only talks can end the differences," he said in a press statement here.
"The state government is of farmers and public. I will continue to work for them," he said.
The chief minister said the state government has taken a slew of measures in farmers' interest like procuring one kg of onion for Rs 8.
"We (state government) are going to start buying Tur and Urad pulses from farmers at MSP from June 10," he said.
Chouhan said some "anti-social elements" wanted to push the state into deep trouble.
"Such people will be dealt strictly," the CM said in the statement.
He appealed to the agitating farmers to ensure the nefarious designs of the anti-social elements do not prevail.
"I appeal to the farmers to join hands to work for the state's development," Chouhan said.
Widespread violence, including several incidents of arson, have been reported from western Madhya Pradesh, especially in Mandsaur and Dewas districts, during the weeklong farmers' agitation in the state.
Meanwhile, contingents of Rapid Action Force (RAF) were today deployed in Mandsaur which has been on the boil since the past two days.
According to police, two companies of RAF, comprising around 100 men each, have moved into Pipliamandi in Mandsaur, where five farmers were killed.
DIG Ratlam Range Avinash Sharma is camping in Pipliamandi, where the agitating farmers defied prohibitory orders, beat up officials and policemen, and resorted to violence and arson yesterday.
The state government, in a bid to cool tempers, has already announced certain measures, including a loan settlement scheme for those cultivators who had defaulted on repayment of farm loan.
The scheme will cover around six lakh farmers with accumulated dues of Rs 6,000 crore, according to the government.